A businessman from Dzerzhinsk claims that officers of the sobering-up station broke his arm


09 July 2010

This is not the first complaint about police abuse in this institution, but neither the Prosecutor’s Office, nor the Directorate of the Interior take any measures.

   At the end on June 2010 the Interregional Committee Against Torture received an application from Alexander Kharitonov, businessman from Dzerzhinsk (Nizhny Novgorod region).  Mr. Kharitonov reported that on May 1, 2010 he had been detained by the police together with his lady-friend in one of the city restaurants.   

The police took Mr. Kharitonov and his girl-friend to the Dzerzhinsk medical detoxification centre. At the sobering-up station they were neither examined nor subjected to any tests, therefore Alexander wondered what the reason for their detention was. But the police did not answer his question. Policemen also rudely denied him a chance to call his relatives. Alexander and his girl-friend were locked up in different cells. Some minutes later the girl started shouting loudly and knocking on the door.

Alexander got worried about her and started knocking on the door and asking the police to tell him what was going on with the girl. After that three officers entered his cell, twisted Alexander’s arms behind his back without explaining the reason for that, put him facedown and tied his hands behind his back. Mr. Kharitonov did not show any resistance. “When the officer twisted my arms behind, I felt acute pain in the right elbow. First I did not pay attention to that, but the pain got stronger and I started crying to the police asking them to untie me”, said Mr. Kharitonov.

According to Mr. Kharitonov, he was tied up for 40 minutes approximately, and when the police untied his hands he felt that he could not bend his right arm. Finally, the policemen also noticed that, but did not offer any medical assistance.  Around 4 a.m. Mr. Kharitonov and his girl-friend were taken to police station no,3 under the Dzerzhinsk Department of Internal Affairs and locked up an a cell. It took the police an hour and a half to prepare the administrative offense protocols. By that time the arm got completely stiff. Mr. Kharitinov insisted that he needed to go to hospital.  He was taken to Polyclinic no.1 in Dzerzhinsk. There Alexander was examined by a doctor who diagnosed a closed arm fracture.

On May 6, 2010 Alexander was examined by a forensic medical expert upon the request of the investigator. The forensic medical examination report (№ 773 dated 06.05.2010) reads that Mr. KLharitonov has the following injuries:  closed fracture of the proximal end of the  radial bone with a dislocation incurring damage to health of medium severity.

According to Mr. Kharitonov, there were video cameras in the detoxification centre where his arm was broken, this means that everything must be recorded.

At present specialists of the Interregional Committee Against Torture are checking Mr. Kharitonov’s application, the decision about the public investigation will be made basing on the results of this check.

It should be mentioned that it is not the first time that the Dzerzhinsk detoxification centre is criticized by its inmates. For example, in April 2008 Andrey Anikin complained about police abuse at that sobering-up station. In that case the police broke Mr. Anikin’s rib, and moreover, according to the applicant, they stole 5500 rubles from him.  

The Interregional Committee Against Torture conducted a public investigation into those events and concluded that the police had violated Article 3 of the European Convention (prohibition of torture).

The Internal Security Directorate of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Directorate of the Interior where Mr. Anikin applied after leaving hospital also confirmed some of the victim’s statements.

Unfortunately, the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Directorate of the Interior and the Prosecutor’s Office refuse to take any steps to make the detoxification centre system subordinate to the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development, and not the police, as it is foreseen by the police reform and as it has already been done in many Russian regions. These antiquated institutions still function in Nizhny Novgorod region mutilating the lives of dozens of people.

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