Russia: Court rules against use of metal cages in court proceedings

Judges have ruled that Russia’s use of metal cages in court porceedings breached European human rights law.

In its 31 January judgement in the case Vorontsov and Others v. Russia (nos. 59655/14, 5771/15, and 7238/15), the European Court of Human Rights decided that there had been a violation of Article 3 (degrading treatment).

The case was brought by the applicants, Ruslan Vladimiovich Vorontsov, Aleksandr Nikolayevich Susarin and Yevgeniy Vladimirovich Belyayev. They complained against their confinement in metal cages during criminal proceedings against them.

As just satisfaction, the court awarded EUR 3,000 to Vorontsov and EUR 7,500 each to Susarin and Belyayev (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 1,000 to Susarin (costs and expenses)

Vorontsov was convicted of robbery and sentenced to three years and six months’ imprisonment in April 2014. During the hearings before the Oktyabrskiy District Court of Krasnoyarsk, Vorontsov was held in a metal cage.

Susarin was convicted of fraud and firearms-related offences in 2011, 2013, and 2014. During proceedings before the Leninskiy District Court of Cheboksary and the Supreme Court of the Chuvash Republic, he was confined in a metal cage.

Belyayev was remanded in custody following his arrest in September 2014. His detention was extended by the Cherepovets Town Court of the Vologda Region in November 2014 and in December 2014 that court convicted him of grievous bodily harm and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment. Belyayev was confined in a metal cage when the custodial measure was applied to him, when it was subsequently extended, and during the trial.

Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Vorontsov, Susarin and Belyayev complained that their confinement in metal cages in courtrooms during the criminal proceedings against them had been degrading.

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