Europe

Russian jail to install sunbeds for prisoners

Man on sunbed (archive image)
Image caption Prison facilities do not usually include sunbeds

A prison in Russia says it is to install sunbeds and other facilities to improve the health of its inmates.

The head of Moscow's Butyrka remand prison, Sergei Telyatnikov, said prisoners would also have access to ultrasound equipment.

They may also get spa facilities such as mud baths in the jail, which dates back to the 19th Century.

Russia's prisons have been criticised as being overcrowded and badly managed with poor medical facilities.

Mr Telyatnikov was quoted by the Reuters news agency as telling the Vesti FM radio station: "We are developing additional medical services... and even sunbeds will be put in place."

He said the sunbeds would be installed by the end of the year, but that prisoners would have to apply for permission before using them, and would be charged for doing so.

He said the ultrasound systems would be used to give prisoners health checks.

In 2009, a prominent lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who had said he was being kept in custody illegally and not given proper medical treatment, died despite repeated requests for help.

He spent much of his last months in Butyrka and his supporters said it lacked the ultrasound equipment he needed. The Federal Prison Service accepted it was partly responsible for Mr Magnitsky's death.

Mr Telyatnikov added that inmates will also be allowed to use the Skype system to make voice and video calls over the internet, to contact their relatives.

Butyrka has held several notable figures behind its bars, such as Soviet-era writers Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Isaak Babel, and Adolf Hitler's nephew Heinrich.

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