Council of Europe scolds Russia over torture prevention report

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MOSCOW, March 3 (RIA Novosti) - A senior official from one of Europe's leading human rights organizations demanded Friday that Russia release a report on prevention of torture in the country.

Terry Davis, the secretary-general of the Council of Europe, told Russian Justice Minister Yury Chaika that no other state had taken so long to issue a report on torture.

In response, Chaika said the ministry was coordinating the cooperation of all law-enforcement branches in Russia with the Council of Europe to prevent torture at penitentiary institutions.

"We published the part of the report covering Russia's penitentiary system two years ago, and you were among the first to receive it," Chaika said. "We do not have anything to hide."

The Russian minister said Davis could visit any prison in Russia including a pre-trial detention center run by the Federal Security Service, the country's main domestic security agency, which had recently come under the ministry's jurisdiction.

Chaika said that the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner, Alvaro Gil-Robles, had visited virtually every prison in Russia, including Chernokozovo prison in Chechnya, which has been targeted by human rights activists over allegations of torture.

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