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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

No More Special Cells for Foreigners

Foreigners who are detained on suspicion of criminal activity could soon be waiting out investigations and trials in the same detention facilities as the locals.

The Federation Council on Wednesday approved a bill that would eliminate separate holding cells for foreigners being held in custody for the duration of a criminal investigation or trial.

Under the current version of the law setting out police custody guidelines, foreign citizens cannot be held in detention facilities or prison camps together with Russian citizens.

The bill will now be sent to President Vladimir Putin to be signed into law.

Alexander Sidorov, a spokesman for the Federal Prison Service, said living conditions for foreign detainees would not change substantially under the new law.

"There is no difference between the conditions in detention cells for foreigners and those for Russians," Sidorov said.

According to official statistics, approximately 8,500 foreigners are currently being held in detention facilities in Russia, 99 percent of whom are citizens of former Soviet republics.