Human rights judges have expressed concern that Russia’s practice of jailing prisoners far from their families is continuing despite a 2017 European court ruling.
In its 3 July Chamber judgment in the case of Voynov v. Russia (application no. 39747/10) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights,
a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention.
The case concerned a complaint brought by a prisoner Timur Voynov, that he had been sent to serve his sentence in a prison 4,200 kilometres from his home town. He has not seen his partner since 2014 and has never seen his four-year-old daughter.
The court found that there was nothing in the government’s submissions in the case to convince it to depart from its findings in a judgment of 2017 on the same issue.
In that judgment the court held that the Russian legal system did not provide sufficient safeguards against abuse as concerned decisions on the location of incarceration, in breach of prisoners’ right to respect for their family life.
Moreover, it was not satisfied that a procedure suggested by the Government would have provided an avenue for the applicant in the present case to adequately complain about the breach of his right to respect for family life. Nor was there any other remedy available to him at national level to complain about being sent so far away from his family to serve his sentence.
Article 41 (just satisfaction)
The court held that Russia was to pay Voynov 6,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 850 in respect of costs and expenses.