Week-ending 14 May 2021
Members of the State Duma have introduced a bill to ban lawyers from recording meetings with their convicted clients inside prisons. The move has been criticised, RFE/RL reports, as ‘a way of muzzling prisoners such as opposition politician Aleksei Navalny’ and may also be intended to preventing reports of torture leaking out of prison.
RFE/RL, 12 May 2021: A group of lawmakers in the Russian parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, have introduced a bill that would ban lawyers from recording meetings with their convicted clients inside penitentiaries, a move that has sparked sharp criticism from rights activists as a way of muzzling prisoners such as opposition politician Aleksei Navalny. Civil society advocates say the initiative is linked to ongoing online statements by Kremlin-critic Navalny, a growing number of political prisoners, and a number of other high-profile cases of torture in Russian penitentiaries that came to the attention of the public via video recordings made in prisons. The bill, which was placed on the State Duma’s website and registered for debate on May 6, would ban attorneys from bringing “any communication devices” into penitentiaries.