The Council of Europe is studying Russia's experience in controlling prisoners' rights observance. Russian Justice Minister Yuri Chaika said as much Tuesday at the all-Russian conference on the observance of law and human rights in the penitentiary system of Russia. He emphasized that Russia was the only country in Europe to set up, a year ago, a special department controlling the observance of human rights in prisons.
According to the minister, as a result, 83 staff members of the main department for the execution of punishments (GUIN) were held administratively responsible for violating the rights of prisoners.
The reform of the penitentiary system in the country has started to produce positive results, the justice minister said. In his words, after about 60 amendments were introduced into the Criminal Code last March to soften the state's punishment policy, only persons accused of grave and especially grave crimes are kept in custody now.
According to the Justice Ministry, from May 2000 to the present day the number of prisoners in Russia has reduced by 68,000 people, and the number of those kept in detention centres - by 138,000.
The head of the Voronezh region, Alexander Gusev, confirmed the death of Major General Vladimir Zavadsky.