Justice Minister Lays Into Prison Abuse, Missionaries

Justice Minister Yury Chaika on Friday assailed an increase in human rights violations in prisons and promised measures to limit the activities of missionaries.

In addition to addressing the penal system, Chaika said the Justice Ministry planned to introduce legislation later this year that would tighten control over religious organizations conducting missionary work, though he did not specify any particular organizations.

"Recently, we have been disturbed by illegal missionary activity," Chaika said. "As our analysis has shown, there is not only nothing in our legislation regulating this issue, there is not even a definition of 'missionary activity."

Asked whether Chaika was referring to any specific religious groups, Justice Ministry spokeswoman Tatyana Chernyshova said she could not give any details because the ministry had not yet begun drafting the legislation.