7 Dec 2022 20:43

Putin: Keeping people in pretrial detention for years unacceptable

MOSCOW. Dec 7 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the practice of conducting pretrial investigations for years and suggested that, when these investigations take too long, they need to be dropped or the accused should be released pending trial.

"What is absolutely obvious and unacceptable is, if a person is kept for five years behind bars in a pretrial detention cell, this is obviously a human rights violation. After all, we've spoken about this more than once. And I've told the leadership of the Investigative Committee, the Interior Ministry, and other law enforcement [and] special services many times that this practice needs to be stopped," Putin said at a meeting of the presidential Human Rights Council on Wednesday, after its member Yeva Merkachyova brought up the problem of people spending years at pretrial detention facilities.

"There's a need to set timeframes for investigating any criminal cases. Criminal cases can't be handled endlessly on the pretext of some insurmountable objective difficulties. And if a criminal case is not investigated within the prescribed time - it's true, there could be complicated cases - then [a criminal case] either needs to be closed, or at least [a person] must be freed, or some other restrictive measure should be applied," he said.

Merkachyova also asked Putin to address the fact that shackles have lately been used in courts to restrain people suspected, in particular, of economic crimes.

"Regarding people brought for questioning in shackles, especially those [suspected of] economic crimes, I don't even know how to qualify that. I promise you that not only will attention be paid to that, but we will also make sure that an end is definitely put to this practice," Putin replied.