Acquittal rate perilously close to zero


Dnipropetrovsk SIZO

In an article for Dzerkalo Tyzhnya, Maxim Shpachenko writes of yet another harrowing case where a woman- Oksana Yeliseyeva – has been held in SIZO or a remand prison for nearly four years.  A first sentence was – extraordinarily – revoked, and the case sent back to the courts again.  The defendant however remains in SIZO, her two children growing up without her.  The case sounds shocking, with no evidence and the woman charged with an economic crime where her role as accountant seems extremely tenuous. 

The author also brings shocking statistics of acquittals in 2012.  The courts last year convicted almost 165 thousand people.  During that same period there were only 275 acquittals.  In percentage terms this means that of all verdicts, only 0.17% were acquittals. The author notes that this is the worst percentage in the last 7 years.

As reported here many times, the conditions in SIZO are appalling, considerably worse than in prison colonies. 

As of 10 December 2012, 1, 545 people had been in SIZO for over 18 months.

According to the 1960 Criminal Procedure Code the period in SIZO could not in theory exceed 18 months. In practice, this was meaningless since only the criminal investigation was taken into account.

As reported here, the three young men charged very controversially with organizing the explosion in a Zaporizhya Church on 28 July 2010 have been held in SIZO for over 2 and a half years. The trial in this seriously flawed case has been continuing for 2 years, thus the 18 months limit has formally not been exceeded (see Demand for Long Sentences in Gravely Flawed Zaporizhya Church Bomb Trial

In theory this has now been changed with the 2012 CPC.  Now the clock begins ticking and the entire period during which a person is in detention up to conviction / acquittal is counted.  However this will only apply in new cases.

Shpachenko cites the following figures which he says were extremely difficult to obtain.

On 10 December 2012 over 1545 people had been in SIZO for over 18 months. Nor is this figure definitive since three SIZOs did not provide figures, and he believes the number to be from 50 to 100 remand prisoners.

541 (35%) have been in SIZO since 2010;

509 (32.9%) – since 2011;

236 (15.3%) – from 2009;

71 people from 2008;

38 people since 2007;

18 people from 2006;

With respect to 131 people, no information was provided, with far-fetched reasons given.

Apparently one person has been held in the Kherson SIZO since 29 December 2003.

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