1.5 year old kid as a means of putting pressure during interrogation?


29 March 2016

Vasiliy Zhdanovksikh from the Orenburg region applied to the Committee for Prevention of Torture for legal assistance. According to him, the investigators of the Buguruslan Interdistrict Department of the Directorate of the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation did not let his wife collect her scared and tear-stained 1.5 year old son from the police office for over five hours until Vasiliy signs all the papers required by the police. Human rights defenders initiated a public investigation based on Mr. Zhdanovskikh’s complaint.

(Photo: Vasiliy Zhdanovskikh)

According to the applicant, on 2 April 2014 he was travelling by taxi with his 1.5 year old son Egor. At about 11 hours 30 minutes the car was stopped by the drug enforcement officers near the Zaglyadino station and Vasiliy was detained. As Mr.Zhdanovskiikh recalls, after he asked the operative service officers to take his son home (there was 10 minutes drive left to his house) they promised to call his wife Vera, however they did nothing. In his turn, the detained immediately agreed to give away all the narcotic substances that he had on him.
After that, according to Vasiliy, he and son were taken to the Buguruslan Interdistrict Department of the Directorate of the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation for the Orenburg region, where they were immediately separated: the boy was taken to the police office, and the father was taken to the cell, from which he heard the continuous crying of Egor. Vasiliy was very distressed for the condition of his son and repeatedly asked the drug enforcement officers to call his wife Vera and hand over the son to her. However, the drug enforcement officers only promised to fulfill his request, but were not in a hurry to do it.

Vasiliy confessed that he experienced the most dramatic emotional stress when the police officers closed the door in his cell and he could not hear any longer what was going on with Egor.

The boy’s mother Vera Lebedeva also told the human rights defenders some details of that day: «I was at home when approximately at six in the evening I received a call from the police and was told to show up urgently in the Federal Drug Control Service department for Buguruslan city. I did not realize what exactly had happened and immediately arrived at the above-mentioned department. Its officers met me, escorted me inside and told me that my son was in the building and that I could collect him. I started waiting but no one was bringing by child. Then I started to demand to have my son back, after that I was taken to one of the rooms on the second floor and was told that I «had to be questioned». I was interrogated by a woman-investigator, and after I signed everything, she drew up a «kid transfer certificate» and invited me to go downstairs to the first floor where I saw my son lying on a bench in the premises of the duty station. After I saw a stupefied look of my kid and his helpless state I demanded to have my kid back. Then I took Egor and went home and was crying all the way home since I was extremely distressed and could not recover my senses for a long time».

According to Vera Lebedeva, the child’s condition has aggravated after the incident, since Egor, who had been registered with the neurologist and child psychiatrist before, started to wake up at night and cry quite often.

«When the boy sees people in uniform resembling the police uniform, he gets scared and starts to cry», – Lebedeva reports.

«We only started to conduct a public investigation of this fact and it is too early to speak of its results. It is worth mentioning that this is not a very typical case for our branch in Orenburg, we have not yet worked with complaints against the violations of little kids’ rights, – lawyer of «The Committee for Prevention of Torture» Evgeny Litvinov reports. – At the present time we submitted a crime report to the Investigative Committee requesting to conduct specific verification activities. In case the elements of crime are revealed in the framework of this verification we also will insist on immediate initiating the criminal proceedings and conducting the necessary investigative activities with subsequent bringing the culprits to justice».

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