“Condition… prevents the serving of sentence”

1

July 5, 2014 by AK

The triplegic man sentenced in January 2014 to six years in a labor camp has been approved for release by a court in Kostroma. The camp administration argued it was unable to provide adequate care to the inmate, supporting his lawyers’ request for release. However the prosecution can still appeal this decision within ten days so Topekhin remains in the prison hospital at the moment.

Anna Karetnikova, a Moscow human rights advocate, and Svetlana Sidorkina, Topekhin’s lawyer, deserve huge credit for this. The camp officials understandably did not want an invalid on the premises: their Moscow bosses would have them responsible if he died or if his plight made it onto Russian TV or into non-Russian media. The provincial court showed more decency than the Moscow judge and the Moscow City Court, which refused to suspend the sentence but reduced the term to four years – not much further from a death sentence than six.


1 comment »

  1. Jorge says:

    Taking a Universalist approach to the mrigan of appreciation one might say those controversial societal values at national level should have no bearing upon the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. The rights it protects are of such import that their status at the domestic level should not be a consideration for a court whose role is to ensure that adequate legal protection is being given to them. One might additionally note that the doctrine does not feature in the convention, and as a political creature of Strasbourg might have assumed competences not initially envisaged. But this is flawed: It assumes that countries prioritize human rights protection above all else, which is simply not the case. The mrigan is a vital interface between Convention standards and the decision-making process of the court, beneficial for both the nation under scrutiny and the court since it provides a more effective mechanism to protect rights- the Convention can be taken as a universal minimum standard, guaranteeing certain rights, and yet also respecting a degree of discretion by which they may be implemented in keeping with a country’s own traditions. The state may govern in the way it feels appropriate, balancing national security against human rights at times of crisis and this will be taken into account by the court. Similarly if the court feels that fundamental guarantees are being short-changed they may take a narrower mrigan and hold the state to account. Here I agree with a human rights expert Ana Nacvalovaite that this is the right approach: human rights should remain a dynamic area, and fixed standards would mire their natural evolution.

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