45 000 euro for tortures in the Orenburg police


02 May 2017

Today, on 2 May 2017, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling concerning the complaint submitted by lawyers with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture in the interests of Yury Zontov from Orenburg who was subjected to torture in 2011 at police department No 4 for Orenburg. The Strasbourg judges acknowledged that Russia violated Article 3 of the European Convention with regard to Mr Zontov, and awarded him a compensation in the amount of 45 000 euro. Lawyers with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture intend to insist on opening the criminal case based on the fact of illegal violence against Mr Zontov. 

As we have previously reported, in September 2011 Yury Zontov applied for legal assistance to the Orenburg office of INGO «The Committee Against Torture». He told the human rights defenders that on 27 August he was taken to the police department No.4 for Orenburg city. There police officers were beating him, hitting his feet with rubber truncheons, and strangling him with a plastic bag in order to make the man confess of thefts of a cell phone and a golden necklace. Having yielded to tortures Yury signed the full confession.

At the first-aid station the man told the doctors that he was beaten up by the police. Later the bodily injuries were registered when he was transferred to the temporary detention facility (IVS) and to a pre-trial detention center (SIZO): bruises on the chest and both feet, numerous scratches on the lower back, in the area of left cheek-bone and in the area of both wrist joints.

On 30 September 2011 the crime report based on this case was submitted to the Investigative Department for Orenburg of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Orenburg region. During the pre-trial investigation 17 dismissals to initiate criminal case were issued, 16 of which were subsequently quashed at the initiative of the human rights defenders as illegal and ungrounded.

Having exhausted all domestic remedies aimed at restoring Yury’s rights at the national level, in April 2014 human rights defenders lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (the ECHR). In a year, in March 2015, it was communicated.

It is worth noting that after the complaint was sent to the European Court of Human Rights the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case under the article «Abuse of office», however the Prosecutor’s Office of the Promyshlennyi District of Orenburg immediately dismissed it on the grounds that Zontov received bodily injuries as a result of wrestling techniques used by the police officers.

All the attempts of human rights defenders to insist on initiating the criminal case turned out to be in vain.
Today the European Court of Human rights passed a ruling concerning the complaint submitted on behalf of Yury Zontov. The Strasbourg judges have unanimously established violations of Article 3 of the Convention in negative and procedeural aspects: the applicant was subjected to tortures and this fact was not efficiently investigated. With regard to this Zontov was awarded a compensation for moral damage in the amount of 45 000 euro. 

“When assigning the amount of compensation the Court was taking into account not only the severity of sufferings experienced by the applicant as a result of applying tortures against him, but also the fact that the violation of the rights of the detained during his questioning without his defense lawyer present and his procedural status defined put the applicant in the vulnerable condition”, – lawyer with the department of international legal remedy of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments. 

“The ECHR ruling will be an additional argument for us, with the help of which we will continue to insist on opening the criminal case based on the fact of Zontov torture, – lawyer with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Evgeny Litvinov, representing his interests, comments. 

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