Yesterday, on 9 February 2016, the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court partly sustained the claims of lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Sergey Romanov and awarded one hundred thousand rubles to his client Irina Demidova as a compensation for moral damage incurred by inefficient investigation of the death of her father Alekdandr Anoshin at a sobering-up station in 2002. Notably, in April 2015 the Sovetsky District Court dismissed Anoshina’s complaints, declaring the investigation which lasted for many years and in the result of which two police officers escaped responsibility due to expiration of limitation period, to be effective.
(Photo: Aleksandr Anoshin)
As we have previously reported, on 13 February 2004 Elena Anoshina applied for legal assistance to the Committee Against Torture. According to Elena on 25 July 2002 her brother Aleksandr was taken to a sobering-up station of the Sovetsky District of Nizhny Novgorod, where he died on the same day of strangulation.
According to the detoxication center workers, Anoshin hanged himself, using bed linen. However, the expert examination showed that apart from specific bodily injuries which are observed at strangulation, Aleksandr had a whole range of traumas. The conclusion of the experts was clear – Anoshin could not make them himself. Based on the results of the expert examination, on 3 August 2002 the Prosecutor’s Office initiated the criminal case under part.4 of Article 111 of the Russian Criminal Code («intended grave bodily harm resulted in death by negligence»).
However, the investigation of this criminal case was just middling: no suspects were identified and the case was suspended 13 times. These rulings on suspending were quashed by the bodies of the Prosecutor’s Office and court only after lawyers of the Committee Against Torture submitted the corresponding complaints. The case was put into motion only in 2005 when the human rights defenders lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.
After that the investigation kicked off: immediately the suspects were identified, they were taken into custody and started to give evidence. In August 2006 the criminal case of police officers Aleksey Maslov, Yevgeny Ageyev and Andrey Antonov was sent to the Sovetsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod.
As a result on 1 August 2008 the court declared Aleksey Maslov guilty of crimes under part 1 of Article 105 of the Russian Criminal Code («intentional homicide») and part 3 of Article 286 of the Russian Criminal Code («abuse of office») and sentenced him to 14 years of imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony.
Yevgeny Ageyev and Andrey Antonov, charged with crime under part 2 of Article 293 of the Russian Criminal Code («negligence that caused grave bodily harm or death»), were withdrawn from criminal persecution due to expiration of limitation period.
The fact that the state acknowledged the fact of murder of Aleksandr Anoshin by the police officer allowed demanding a compensation of moral damage from the state. On 25 May 2009 judge of the Sovetsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod Elena Lysova partly sustained the complaints of Aleksandr Anoshin’s sister and three children and compelled the Ministry of Finance of the Nizhny Novgorod region to pay 150 000 rubles to each applicant for moral damage incurred by the crime.
In January 2015 lawyer of the Committee Against Torture Sergey Romanov filed a legal claim to court on behalf of Irina Demidova for compensation of moral damage caused by inefficient investigation of her father’s death. On 6 April 2015 the Sovetsky District Court dismissed the contentious proceeding.
«In the court of the first instance the representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Finance tried to convince us that the investigation was performed effectively, since Aleksey Maslov got prison term for the murder of Aleksandr Anoshin. However, we directed the court’s attention to the fact that the investigation which lasted for four years made it possible for two other police officers, Ageyev and Antonov, to escape responsibility, and we could not agree that the investigation was effective, – Sergey Romanov emphasizes. – We were very surprised by the ruling of the court of the first instance, and, of course, we appealed against it. We are grateful to the judges of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court, who thoroughly reviewed our appeal petition, examined all six volumes of the criminal case of Anoshin’s death, and awarded compensation to Irina Demidova. We found the stance of the Nizhny Novgorod Prosecutor’s Office to be quite strange. Initially in the court of the first instance it asked to dismiss the claim and even during the first court hearing in the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court asked to affirm the ruling of the court of the first instance. However, yesterday the representative of the Prosecutor’s Office supported us, asking to dismiss the court ruling and partly sustain our claims».