ST. PETERSBURG (RAPSI, Mikhail Telekhov) – The Constitutional Court of Russia published a regulation that allows prison inmates sentenced to life to receive at least one long visit from close relatives in the first 10 years of prison term, RAPSI learned in the court on Thursday.

The Court was reviewing Russian legislation regarding prison visits under the request of the Volgograd Regional Court regarding the cases of convicts Anton Matsynin and Nikolay Korolev. Their wives tried to organize prolonged conjugal visits in the first 10 years of imprisonment but were denied.

According to Russian legislation, prolonged visits for such inmates are only allowed when they are moved to less strict conditions, but those who serve life terms may be transferred to such conditions only after 10 years of prison time for good behavior.

The Court reviewed the case and found a flaw within the legislation. Since transfer to less strict conditions is only allowed after 10 years, regardless of inmate’s behavior, it means that there is no option for long prison visits whatsoever within that term. This may be viewed as prohibition of long prison visit and as a violation of Russian Constitution and the Convention of Human Rights as it is interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights.

It was noted that this problem can’t be just solved by providing visits as promotion at the discretion of the penitentiary institution. Inmates convicted to life, even if they have not already served ten years, should have the right to at least one long visit per year.