Acquittals rarer in Russian courts now than under Stalin

A defendant in court during the Stalin-era Great Purge was 20 times more likely to be found not guilty than an accused facing a judge in today’s Russia, reported on Friday.

Even in 1937 – the most notorious period of the Great Purge repression campaign orchestrated by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin – the acquittal rate was over 10 percent, while in recent years it has been below 1 percent, the online newspaper said, referring to statistical research.

Critics of the Russian court system assert that it is inclined towards bringing guilty verdicts, a claim disputed by some senior Russian lawyers, who question the validity of the statistical methods used.

However, research based on various statistical models place Russia in one of the last places in terms of the percent of the non-guilty verdicts brought annually.

Data on President Dmitry Medevdev’s official website say that only 0.8 percent of verdicts issued in 2009 were not guilty. In 2011, this proportion has slid to 0.5 percents, said.

The website referred to the History of the Soviet Court, written in 1948 by M.Kozhevnikov. It says that in 1936 the acquittals represented 10.9 percent of verdicts, 10.3 percent in 1937, and in 1941 – 11.6 percent.

MOSCOW, June 3 (RIA Novosti)

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