20 Dec 2018 16:04

Putin objects to dismantling penitentiary system in Russia, calls for increased civilian control

MOSCOW. Dec 20 (Interfax) - Russia's penitentiary system should be improved, and public control over it should be enhanced, but this system does not need to be dismantled, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"Saying that everything must be broken there would also be wrong. This system needs to be improved, and the level of civilian control there should be enhanced - with that I fully agree," Putin said at his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

There are relevant commissions at work in Russia, which "should work and will receive support from the state and from the president," he said.

"I hope they will also play a positive role in resolving the problems that certainly exist in the system. This is true," Putin said.

Torture is unacceptable, and officials guilty of it must be punished, he said. "What we are seeing, the things that have become known, are totally unacceptable. Any violations of the law, especially torture, are crimes that must be punished," he said.

Asked about media reports revealing torture and violence against convicts, Putin said, "These violations must be punished. By the way, this happens whenever such instances are revealed, including with the assistance of the mass media."

A number of incidents involving torture of defendants and prisoners at detention centers and penitentiaries in Russia have been reported in 2018.

The Russian Supreme Court ruled at the end of November that no circumstances, including orders from superior bodies or officials, can serve as grounds for using physical force, special devices, or measures of mental and physical suppression exceeding acceptable limits against convicts.