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‘Enshrine right to videotape police into law’ - MP

Published time: April 21, 2014 11:30
RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov

RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov

A leftist lawmaker has prepared an amendment reiterating the right of citizens and organizations to record police officers’ actions on video, in order to introduce more openness and transparency.

The Russian Constitution already has a norm guaranteeing all citizens the right to free search, obtaining, transfer, production and distribution of information. Technically, records of police officers’ actions fall under this rule. However, law enforcers sometimes oppose attempts to capture their actions on video, quoting the laws on personal data and even the regulations concerning state secrets.

Oleg Mikheyev of the Fair Russia party holds that such incidents could be prevented once the law on police is amended with the description of documenting procedures, including audio and video recording. He noted that the law on police was chosen because this is the primary act used by police in their work and once it is altered there would be no misunderstandings.

The lawmaker said in an interview with Izvestia daily that such steps were in the law enforcers’ own interests as the society’s current controversial attitude to the police is to a large extent caused by actions of very few of its unworthy representatives.

He also pointed out that over the last few years the citizens’ records have many times helped the citizens to defend themselves against corrupt law enforcers, especially among traffic police.

Apart from liberties, the new bill also has restrictions – it reads that the video records are unlawful if they contradict the existing Russian law on criminal and administrative court procedure, on operative work and on state secrets. It is also mentioned that the rights of other citizens should not be violated in the process.

However, public activists are skeptical about Mikheyev’s initiative.

The head of the All-Russian Motorists’ Movement, Viktor Pokhmyolkin, has said that as the existing abuse is taking place in violation of the current laws nothing would prevent the dishonest officers from violating the new ones. Pokhmyolkin added that in his view the whole court system and traffic police rules should undergo a reform that would do away with the unofficial presumption of driver’s guilt.

A representative of the Public Interests Right NGO, Olga Shepeleva, added that the new law could only work after changes to the Criminal Code that would allow the use of private video records as evidence.

Comments (3)


William Hinshaw 22.04.2014 21:39

Remember cop ALWAYS lie. They will have in the report that you are combative, threatening and uncooperative if you even mention having a lawyer. Cops love nothing more than to justify the need for them by racking up the body count. Once you're dead you can't refute any of the claims made by them. It is VERY common place for the police to lie right to your face about the laws that you are supposedly breaking and if you happen to know your rights you will most definitely get a beating and a few days in jail. That or dead.
It is best to have a hidden camera that uploads to youtube automatically.


Lee Schuler 22.04.2014 13:00

You would think that the recording of cops extorting, beating, killing their victims would slow them down but it doesn't seem to be having that effect in the US. Internal Affairs and the courts just smile, pat them on the head and, maybe, a small slap on the wrist. They know they will not be held accountable so the killing of unarmed, noncombatants continues. Women and teens are the favored victims but they will kill the elderly too. The bad cops are so brave now that they are shooting them in the back and laughing about how it must be suicide.


George 21.04.2014 23:22

Iy is not the laws, but implementing the laws that you have to worry about.

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