MOSCOW, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – A Just Russia party faction in the State Duma requested the Russian Justice Ministry to amend its regulations allowing manual body cavity searches of inmates, a lawmaker told Gazeta.Ru on Thursday.
Valery Gartung, who is among some 40 lawmakers behind the initiative, told the portal that he prepared the request while visiting a penal colony in the Urals city of Kopeisk, the site of a violent prison riot in November 2012.
Over 200 convicts took part in a protest demanding a milder regime and the release of several inmates from punitive confinement. Gartung said the inmates were protesting against being systematically abused by prison workers, who also extorted money from their relatives.
“When people refused to make a phone call and ask for money from their relatives, they were, in fact, sexually assaulted under the guise of a manual rectal exam,” the lawmaker said, adding that some of the inmates were psychologically traumatized and even attempted to commit suicide.
The letter, addressed to Russian Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, asks him to consider introducing less invasive methods, such as x-rays.
The Federal Penitentiary Service said in certain cases prison workers “have to examine natural body orifices” and that such searches often reveal prohibited objects, such as drugs or cell phones.
The Russian Justice ministry declined to comment on the party’s request.