A citizen from the Nizhny Novgorod region complained of torture to the European Court of Human Rights

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05 August 2016

Lawyers of the Committee for Prevention of Torture applied to the European Court of Human Rights in the interests of Denis Kramchaninov who was beaten up in 2010 at the police department of Shakhunyi town in the Nizhny Novgorod region. Human rights defenders failed to get the criminal case opened and make the effective investigation of this fact conducted at the national level. Preliminary check with regard to Denis Kramchaninov’s complaint was performed by the investigators of the Shakhunsky Interdistrict Investigative Department for about six years. During this time the investigator issued nine refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, eight of which were quashed by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee’s bodies.


(Photo: Denis Kramchaninov)

Denis Kramchaninov applied to the Committee Against Torture in June 2010. At that time he told the human rights defenders that he was severely beaten by a local police officer who was forcing the young man to sign a false self-accusation of committing a theft. As Kramchaninov reported in his explanation, in the evening of 16 July 2010 he was brought from his home to the police department of Shakhunya town. Inside the office premises the police officer demanded that the guy confessed of theft, after that he hit him several times with his fists against the head, pressed his fingers with pliers, and, having put the gas mask on the young man, made him do knee bends. The battery and torture lasted about two hours, after that Denis yielded and agreed to sign a full confession, which was dictated to him by the police officer. When in the evening of the same day the young man applied to the Shakhunskaya District hospital doctors diagnosed him with a cerebral concussion and registered some hematomas on his body. The criminal case on theft initiated against Denis was dismissed in a short time due to failure to prove the young man’s guilt. The criminal case based on Denis torture report was never initiated.

In the course of conducted public investigation based on Denis Kramchaninov’s report human rights defenders considered that the fact of violation of Denis Kramchaninov’s right (to be protected from torture and ill-treatment by the authorities’ representatives) by illegal actions of the police officers is proved.

«In our disposal we have the results of Kramchaninov’s medical examination which registered bodily injuries. We also questioned the eye-witnesses who told that prior to meeting with the police officers Denis had no visible traces of violence. In addition, we think that the investigation of Kramchaninov’s complaint against the use of illegal methods of inquest was performed inefficiently, which actually debarred him from access to justice», – lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Ilya Khorshev comments.

Lawyer on international law Ekaterina Vanslova who prepared a complaint to the European Court, pointed out that in this case human rights defenders collected quite a substantial body of evidence of the fact of applying violence against the applicant as well as of highly inefficient investigation. «The investigators evaded necessary actions: they did not question witnesses in time, did not sort out the contradictions in the police officers’ evidence, did not perform face-to-face confrontation between the applicant and the officers who tortured him, even the results of the medical examination were not analyzed for 6 years, and the incident site was examined only after half a year after the incident, – Ekaterina points out. – Lack of important checking activities led to violating the reasonable period of time for crime report examination. Now it makes no sense to try to investigate anything at the national level, due to that we submitted a complaint to the European Court».

In the nearest future human rights defenders are also planning to apply to the Nizhegorodskiy District Court with a lawsuit on compensation of moral damage inflicted by inefficient investigation of his report on battery in the police department of Shakhunyi town.