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24 Jan, 2017 13:16

European HR court supports Russian ban on life sentences for women, underage & elderly

European HR court supports Russian ban on life sentences for women, underage & elderly

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected a complaint from two Russian convicts who claimed that Russia’s ban on handing down life prison sentences to female, underage, and elderly citizens infringes on their right to fair justice.

Russian law currently forbids sentencing men under 14 and over 65 years old and women of all ages to life in prison. In early 2014, two convicts serving life sentences in prison camps in northern Russia filed separate complaints contesting this point in the criminal code with the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that it discriminated based on sex and age. One convict had been imprisoned for assaulting a police officer and illegal possession of firearms, and the other for a triple murder.

During the ECHR hearings, a representative of the Russian Federation noted that women only accounted for 6.5 percent of the Russian prison population, which he said was proof that women pose less of a threat to society than men, and therefore should receive lighter sentences.

After looking into the cases, the European Court of Human Rights rejecting the convicts’ complaints on Tuesday, ruling that the practice of giving women, teenagers, and elderly persons lighter punishments is in line with humanitarian principles and does not violate human rights.