The Constitutional Court (CC) of Russia called the examination of lawyers in pre-trial detention centers unacceptable without documenting this procedure. On the adoption of such a resolution reported KS press service.
The decree was issued after considering the complaint of the lawyer Ramil Idiyatdinov, who asked to check the constitutionality of part 6 of article 34 of the Federal Law “On the detention of suspects and accused of committing crimes.”
Ramil Idiyatdinov came to his client in SIZO-3 in Tatarstan. First, he was checked with a metal detector, and he handed over his mobile phone. In the local zone, he was stopped by an inspector, who noticed an object that looked like a telephone in the lawyer’s pocket, and the lawyer was searched again. Idiyatdinov demanded that a protocol be drawn up about the second search and the legal and factual grounds for the search be presented to him, but he was refused.
The lawyer challenged this refusal in the prosecutor’s office, then in court. During the proceedings, it turned out that the SIZO did not conduct a personal search of Idiyatdinov, checking the contents of his pockets and probing his clothes. The courts dismissed his complaints, stating that, by order of the Ministry of Justice, it was not necessary to draw up an official protocol on the inspection if prohibited items were not found, as in his case.
Idiyatdinov, however, expressed the opinion that the contested norm contradicts Article 55 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, since the lawyer who came to the pre-trial detention center for work was subjected to a second personal search without a protocol. Accordingly, the procedure was carried out without specifying its reason, fixing its progress and results. Also, this rule puts in a different legal position lawyers and representatives of the bodies of inquiry and investigation as persons whose examination is not allowed, said Ramil Idiyatdinov.
The Constitutional Court recalled that the right of citizens to qualified legal assistance is enshrined in the Constitution, and the law on advocacy gives the defense lawyer the right to freely meet with the client in private and without limiting the number of visits or their duration.
At the same time, a lawyer must comply with the regime requirements of the institution where his client is being held. In addition, the defense lawyer cannot refuse to inspect his belongings and clothes if he is suspected of trying to smuggle in prohibited items. In this situation, in order to protect the rights of a lawyer, it should be possible to record in writing the grounds, course and result of the inspection, the Constitutional Court decided.
The court explained that the protocol of the search and its video recording must be provided to the lawyer at his request and must be kept for at least the period provided for challenging the legality of the search. The contested provision of the Federal Law should be applied taking into account the new resolution, but the case of Idiyatdinov does not need to be reviewed, the Constitutional Court considered, since the inspection did not entail negative legal consequences for him.