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Russian Legislators Introduce Amendments to Administrative Code

The GDP's map of detention centres in Russia (
The GDP’s map of detention centres in Russia (

In December Russia introduced important amendments to its Code of Administrative Offences–including limiting the maximum period of detention in immigration detention facilities to 90 days, and permitting detainees the right to apply to a court to verify the legality of their detention. 

Key Changes: 

  • Detention in immigration detention facilities (CVSIGs, formerly SUVSIGs) is to be limited to 90 days.
  • The imposition of judicial control over the extension of any detention orders beyond the 90-day limit, and requirement for the Ministry of Internal Affairs to supply its petition for such an extension at least 15 days before the detention order expires. 
  • Detainees are to be allowed to challenge the legality of their detention in court if there are indications that expulsion from Russia is impossible. 

The Road to Legislative Amendments 

Prior to the amendments introduced on 25 December, immigration detainees could be confined for up to 720 days (two years) and had no right to appeal their detention. Stateless persons have been particularly vulnerable to extended detention periods–despite the fact that with no nationality, they cannot be deported, making their detention for expulsion purposes arbitrary. 

The country’s immigration detention practices have regularly been criticised by national and international observers. In an important 2014 ruling, the European Court of Human Rights held that Russia had violated several provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights in its detention of a stateless individual. Specifically: Article 3 (concerning inhumane conditions of detention); part 1 of Article 5 (on extended detention without the prospect of expulsion); and part 4 of Article 5 (violation of the right of detainees to appeal and to have judicial oversight over detention). 

In 2017 Russia’s Constitutional Court declared illegal the unjustified and extended detention of stateless persons. It also overruled the prohibition on detainees’ ability to appeal the grounds for their detention. The court demanded that legislators amend the country’s Code of Administrative Offences “so that it ensures reasonable judicial control over the timeframes of the detention of stateless persons subject to forced expulsion in specialised institutions.” 

The GDP’s partner, ADC Memorial, has been active in efforts to push for reforms to protect detainees in the country. Read more here. 

Legal Reform Length of Detention Russian Federation