In 2023, at least 50 people died while in the custody of Russian authorities, according to a report by independent Russian news portal Vestka. These deaths occurred in prisons, courts, police stations, and detention centers throughout the country. Most of the deceased were men awaiting trial in detention centers, with 22 dying in police stations and 14 during their arrests.
Government data shows that a dozen of these deaths were due to heart problems, while suicides and “sudden illnesses” were also recorded. However, at least two deaths were reportedly caused by torture by the police, and the causes of thirteen deaths remain unknown. The youngest person to die was a thirteen-year-old from Belaya Gora, while the oldest was a 73-year-old man awaiting trial for alleged pedophilia.
The Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) in Russia explained that overcrowding in Moscow’s detention centers has led to the transfer of detainees to other regions. While the centers have a capacity for about 9,000 people, activist groups reported that in 2022, the number of detainees reached 11,000. The FSIN stated that the overcrowding issue has not been fully resolved and is largely due to Moscow’s high population density and the long periods of time that prisoners remain in custody.
The situation raises concerns about the treatment of detainees and the conditions in Russian detention facilities. It is important for the authorities to address these issues and ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals in their custody. Efforts should be made to prevent further deaths and improve the overall conditions of detention centers in the country.
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