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Moscow Jail Offers Tanning Instead of Sunshine to Boost Morale

Jail in Moscow, Wall, Windows, Barbed WireFeb. 11 (Bloomberg) -- The 240-year-old Moscow prison where Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky died in 2009 will open a tanning parlor next month to boost morale among inmates who rarely see the sun.

"There just isn't enough sunlight at the Butyrka," Sergei Tsygankov, a spokesman for the Moscow branch of the Federal Penitentiary Service, by phone today. "Ultraviolet rays are needed at the pretrial facility."

President Dmitry Medvedev in September urged lawmakers to approve "softer" forms of detention for people who haven't been convicted of a crime, after several died in police custody. Magnitsky spent almost a year in Butyrka, during which he said he was abused and denied medical treatment to force him to drop fraud allegations against officials. His death sparked outrage from Europe Union lawmakers, who called for visa bans on Russians involved in the case.

The tanning beds will be available to all of Butyrka's 1,700 inmates who can afford the service, which costs 10 rubles (34 U.S. cents) a minute.

"If a suspect is used to tanning, he may visit the parlor since he hasn't been convicted yet," Tsygankov said. All of Moscow's pretrial facilities now offer amenities such as fitness rooms and Internet access but the tanning beds are an experiment unique to Butyrka, Tsygankov said.

Originally appeared at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-11/moscow-jail-offers-tanning-instead-of-sunshine-to-boost-morale.html

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