Yesterday, 9 July 2015, judge of the Nizhny Novgorod District Court Irina Shkinina satisfied the complaint of the Committee Against Torture lawyers, filed on behalf of Aleksandr Rakhmanov from Kstovo (the Nizhny Novgorod region) on compensation of moral damages collecting 10000 RUR from the state. The judge agreed with human rights defenders’ arguments that the actions of officials (investigative officers and Prosecutor’s Office) through the fault of which the pre-trial investigation based on Rakhmanov’s complaint about his battery in 2009 by the police officers lingered for four years, are illegal.
As we have already reported, on 22 June 2009 Irina Rakhamova applied for legal support to the Nizhny Novgorod office of the Committee Against Torture. She told that early in the morning on 14 May 2009 police officers came to her apartment. They showed her some incomprehensible document that she failed to read without glasses. At the moment when she opened the door and asked to see the document more clearly, the police officers forced inside her home. They told her they were going to conduct a search.
According to the applicant, the police officers started to push her. At this time her husband Aleksandr Rakhmanov, a disabled person of group 1, came in the corridor and tried to learn what was going on. In reply one of the masked persons hit him in the face, after that Rakhmanov fell. Other masked people came near him and started to hit him with shoes at his chest and belly.
After that he was handcuffed and one of the police officers raised Rakhmanov via his handcuffs under the floor. Irina heard him crying: «It hurts, take off the handcuffs, what have I done to you, I’m an old and sick man». Only after that he was left alone.
Upon the completion of search Rakhmanova together with her husband went to a forensic expert. From 14 May 2009 to 5 June 2009 Aleksandr Rakhmanov was undergoing treatment at Kstovsky Central District Hospital. He was diagnosed with: first degree brain contusion, diffuse contusions of face, chest, anterior abdominal wall, upper limbs, bruises of the face.
The police officers, in their turn, have a different version. They claimed that on that day under instructions of the investigator they conducted a search in Rakhmanov’s apartment in relation to a fraud case. According to their version, at first Irina did not want to let them inside, and then the couple put up a fight (the police officers claimed that Rakhmanova even bite one of them), as a result the law-enforcement agencies were compelled to use force.
A criminal case against Rakhamova was initiated based on violence against the police officer. She claimed she could not possibly bite anyone because her teeth were pin supported. But quite soon, on 13 August 2009, Kstovsky City Court brought in the verdict of guilty, and she was sentenced to pay a fine of one hundred and fifty thousand roubles. Thus, in three months’ time exactly the case of the bite of the police officer was brought to verdict.
What about the investigation of the circumstances of how the Rakhmanovs acquired their bodily injuries?
At first, in violation of the requirements on independence of torture complaints investigation, established by the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, the Rakhmanovs’ complaint on the battery was being checked in the framework of the criminal case against Rakhmanova. On 24 June 2009 senior investigator of the Kstovo City Department of the Investigative Committee Dmitry Balin passed a ruling refusing to initiate a criminal case based on the conjoints’ complaint.
On behalf of the Chairman of the Committee Against Torture a crime report was submitted, which was examined in the framework of the separate investigation material. On 1 July 2009 previously mentioned senior investigator Balin, referring to his ruling of 24 June 2009, also refused to initiate a criminal case.
Totally in the course of pre-trial investigations four refusals to initiate criminal proceedings were issued, which were appealed against by the lawyers of the Committee Against Torture. Three of them were declared illegal by the Prosecutor’s Office and denounced. The fourth ruling was declared legal and appeals against it were dismissed.
In 2009 human rights defenders filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, not a domestic level – a suit on compensation of moral damage, incurred by inefficient investigation of a complaint about police battery.
Yesterday judge of the Nizhny Novgorod District Court Irina Shkinina satisfied this appeal, recognizing the red-tapery of the investigation and the Prosecutor’s Office.
«Restoration of the citizens’ violated rights may take years and sometimes people do not live up to the moment to see it realized. That’s what happened in this case. Unfortunately, Irina Rakhmanova died two months before the court decision. I offer my sincere condolences to her friends and family, – says lawyer of the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin. – In total throughout the long way of the Rakhmanov conjoints protection we filed over twenty five complaints and applications to different authorities, up to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and the European Court of Human Rights. Some of them were successful, for example, in 2011 actions of the Deputy Head of Kstovsky Investigative Department were declared illegal and violating the rights of the Rakhmanov family. But the last decision on compensation of moral damage became especially important for us and Aleksandr Rakhmanov, since this way the state recognized the fact of the investigation’s inefficiency».