Photo: Vadim Braidov for TD
Naurzbay Tursumbayev, an elderly shepherd from the Orenburg region, who reported a police battery, died on 1 November. On this day, the court sentenced him to 2.5 years of jail time for the crime that he did not commit, and the confession of which, according to Naurzbay himself, was tricked out of him by the police officers. A few days later, the pensioner’s nephew Yerbulat Kudarkulov informed the Committee Against Torture on his death. Medics diagnosed the old man with pulmonary oedema and a heart failure.
As we have previously reported, 67-year old shepherd from the depth of the Orenburg region Naurzbay Tursumbayev applied to the Committee Against Torture with a complaint about a police battery. He told human rights defenders that the police officers convinced him to confess that Naurzbay had beaten up an acquaintance of his, to whom he provided a shelter in his own house for many years. “They tricked me. The police chief was swearing on his bread and his position. It’s just, as he said, to close the case. They told me: “Write that he wanted to kill him”. I go: “Let us skip it”. No, can’t do without it. So I was writing it, as a sheep”, — Naurzbay told “Takiye Dela”.
When the police officers came to give him a notice of appearance, Naurzbay refused to go with them. He said that he was put down on the floor, beaten up and pulled from the apartment to the hallway. On the way the pensioner’s pants drooped and he turned out half-naked. Naurzbay told the human rights defenders that the police officers were laughing at him, and the district officer was making a video record on his phone.
“I kept telling them, “You’re working in police, you must be educated…” And they only laughed. I thought: “Can it be that there is no a single normal man among them to stop it”. I asked them not to beat me up, they shouldn’t beat me up. I thought to myself: “Well, well, here’s a police for you”, — Naurzbay told “Mediazona”.
Independent forensic medical examination showed that the pensioner had two ribs broken. In addition, the doctors found electrical marks on his hands and hands of his nephew who tried to help his uncle during his apprehension.
“I cannot stand still for long, I stand for a minute and then I have to sit already. I cannot make myself get up, I cannot bring myself some water. I used to work before, and where can I go now, a disabled? It hurts. Ribs and the back, there’s something wrong with the spine, I don’t know what. It used to be all fine and it started after this battery”, — “Takiye Dela” quotes Naurzbay.
Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the Investigative Committee with an application on behalf of the pensioner, however, the claim to open a criminal case against the police officers was dismissed. And Naurzbay himself was charged with attacking the police officers under Article 318 of the Criminal Code of the RF and of the battery of his comrade (Article 112 and 119 of the Criminal Code of the RF).
On 1 November, the court sentenced the pensioner to 2.5 years of imprisonment on criminal case under Articles 112 and 119. The court hearing concerning the charges of beating the police officers with a poker that Naurzbay had difficulties even to lift when he demonstrated it to the journalists, was in store for him.
Naurzbay felt bad the day before. Ambulance was called twice: on 31 October and 1 November. “I recently talked to the paramedic, they just started examining him. He did not want them even to check his temperature. I explained that this patient was to be treated with great attention and he had to be hospitalized after the recommendation of the doctor that came the day before”, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova commented. The pensioner was hospitalized, suspected of covid.
On 9 November, Yerbulat told human rights defenders that the village chief told him that the uncle died in hospital; a few days before and that his funerals needed to be attended to. At hospital, it was declared that Naurzbay died of pulmonary oedema and a heart failure.
“He [Yerbulat] is illiterate, he cannot read or write. The doctors said he was mentally challenged”, — Naurzbay told a month ago during an interview.
Yerbulat was working together with his uncle. He was not receiving a pension for his psychic status and was dependent upon Naurzbay for support. The farmer who the men worked for, promised to provide Erbulat with food and firewood for a start.
On 11 November, Naurzbay’s brother came from Kazakhstan to arrange for funerals. According to the relative, the morgue was pushing that the body is collected sooner, that is why he didn’t have enough time. The pensioner was buried at the expense of the village council the day before.
At the present moment, the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture are discussing further activities on Naurzbay and Yerbulat’s application (the latter also suffered from illegal actions of the police officers).
“Naurzbay was broken by what happened to him and by the ruling taken by the court. At some point he simply lost his faith in justice and could not or would not fight his illness, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments. – He sincerely could not understand why he was prosecuted as a criminal, when he suffered from the battery and abuse”.
“He called me a couple of times, when he was in the state of deep depression, and told that he would hang himself or get poisoned from the fumes of his stove – he was very distressed with this situation, thought he was prosecuted illegally. And I was talking to him and convincing him: “Naurzbay Sabirovich, don’t take your own life, calm yourself down”, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Babinets told “Mediazona”.
This has not been the first case in the history of the Committee Against Torture, when the applicant dies. But the story of Naurzbay Tursumbayev, old shepherd who helped other people, did not drink, believed in people, and in the end of his life encountered brutality and injustice, cannot leave anyone cold. This story proves that anyone may be subjected to torture, even a helpless elderly man from the Russian province. We will continue our work on bringing to responsibility the police officers who are guilty of Naurzbay’s battery.