Thursday, November 21, 2013

Presumed Innocent, but Caged in Court

Assessing the commonly criticized Russian judicial system 

      Russia has a history of being viewed as a corrupt in everything from Government to Economics - however, the Russian constitution seems to give fair rights to those convicted of a crime. At least, these rights are the impression one gets upon reading the constitution. Unfortunately, these preconceptions are shattered when one looks into the proceedings in a Russian courtroom, particularly the "lock docks" which have recently come under fire. 

The Russian band Pussy Riot, after protesting at a church, was charged with hooliganism and tried in a Russian court of law. Pictured above, the band is held in a metal cage in the courtroom during the trial. Does this image not lend itself to the idea these women have already been weighed, measured, and found guilty?

The Russian legal system places virtually all defendants in lock docks such as this one, defying the new age cultural norm of only restraining potentially violent criminals, and doing so discretely. The implications of such actions are two fold - defendants are presumed guilty when entering trials and justice is heavily obstructed throughout because of the process. “There is a joke,” Mr. Golubok said, “that in the cages, the defendants were like animals, and the glass cages are like aquariums; the defendants are fish.

Without the ability to communicate with one's client, how could one expect a coherent defense to be put together? The presumption of guilt is a fatal flaw in the Russian legal system and needs to be rectified if Russia can ever be expected to rise out of the global cries of corruption and fraud

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