BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Friday, 26 May, 2000, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Amnesty for Russian prisoners
russian prisoners
About 120,000 Russian prisoners will be freed
The Russian parliament has approved an amnesty for about 120,000 minor criminals in a gesture to mark the 55th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.

Among those to be freed are war veterans, women who are pregnant or with disabled children, elderly people and those suffering from tuberculosis.

Russia has one of the largest prison populations in the world, with about one million people currently in custody - many of them in overcrowded jails.

Pavel Krasheninnikov, the chairman of the Russian parliamentary committee for legal affairs, said he believes the amnesty will not lead to an increase in the crime rate.

He said amnesty applies only to those who do not pose much danger.

Overcrowding

Russian prisons currently house up to five times the number of inmates they were designed to hold, forcing prisoners to share bunks or to sleep in shifts.

The Justice Ministry says more than 4,000 inmates have HIV, the virus that causes Aids.

Tuberculosis afflicts another 100,000 prisoners - and up to 10,000 of them die of the disease every year.

Mr Krasheninnikov has advocated changes in Russia's penal code, including fines, bail and house arrest for many offences now punished by prison terms.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

02 Feb 99 | Europe
Russia suspends death penalty
10 Dec 98 | 50th Anniversary Declaration of Human Rights
Russia's reputation still stained by human rights
12 Jun 99 | Europe
Russia plans prison reform
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories