Yesterday judge Polshkova from the Avtozavodsky district court of Nizhny Novgorod pronounced the verdict for two former police officers – Zhuravlyov and Ladin – who had abused teenager Stanislav Lebedev. Stanislav applied for help to the Interregional Committee Against Torture after he was battered by police officers of the Avtozavodsky district Directorate of the Interior in Nizhny Novgorod at night on 8 March 2009. Officers of the second police department of the Avtozavodsky district Directorate of the Interior for no reason. The young man was taken to hospital no.40 only the following day, after he was made to write an acknowledgment of guilt. Before the surgery, hospital doctors documented the following injuries: blunt abdominal trauma, retroperitoneal hematoma, kidney rupture. Doctors had to remove the left kidney completely.
Police officer Zhuravlyov was charged under cl.”a”, p.3, art. 286 of the RF Criminal Code (abuse of office with violent treatment) and officer Ladin – under cl. “a, c”, p.3, art. 286 of the RF Criminal Code (abuse of office with violent treatment resulting in grave consequences) and p.1 art.111 of the RF Criminal Code (“willful infliction of grave damage to health”).
Both policemen were found guilty of all charges.
Zhuravlyov was sentenced to three years of imprisonment and Ladin – to 4 years of imprisonment. Apart from that, both convicts were disqualified from holding public office for 3 years.
Besides his lawyer, Zhuravlov’s defense consisted of a staff member of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Human Rights Commissioner’s Office, head of the Department for Interaction with Law Enforcement Authorities Yuriy Kotyaev who did not only actively support the defense, but asked the court to remove the ICAT lawyer representing the victim from the courtroom.
According to Mr. Kotyaev, only a defense lawyer can represent the victim under the Russian Criminal Procedure Code. Moreover, in Mr. Kotyaev’s opinion, the Committee Against Torture is an investigative body, as it conducted an investigation, even though it was public, and thus, its representatives cannot participate in hearings as victim’s representatives.
It is regrettable that workers of the Human Rights Commissioner’s Office have such level of legal literacy while many residents of Nizhny Novgorod region count on them to protect their rights.
The position of the Nizhny Novgorod Human Rights Commissioner is also worth mentioning. Despite numerous requests of the ICAT, Mr. V.V. Olnev never supported any of ICAT’s applicants, but in this case he appeared in court on his own initiative in order to testify in defense of the policemen.
When the hearing was over, convicts’ relatives started publicly menacing the victim’s representative.
Victim Lebedev and ICAT lawyers find the verdict just and proportionate to the committed crime.