A complaint on behalf of Oleg Silverstov, who was injured during "For Fair Elections" rally, is lodged with the European Court of Human Rights


06 June 2016

Today, on 6 June 2016, lawyers of the Committee for Prevention of Torture lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on behalf of Oleg Silverstov. Human rights defenders think that the Russian authorities violated two articles of the European Convention of Human Rights: «Prohibition of torture» and «Right to liberty and security».

As we have previously reported, Oleg Silverstov applied to human rights defenders for legal assistance four years ago, in 2012. According to Oleg, during the rally «For fair elections» on 10 March 2012 officers of the Department of the Ministry of the Interior for Nizhny Novgorod Patrol-Guard Service Special Task Police Force stroke him down to the ground and started to choke him, strangling him with hands. When Oleg tried to set free he was hit in the left forearm. Then a few police officers dragged him to the bus, near which physical force was again applied against him – he was stroke down to the ground and hit in the chest area. Under apprehension for his health Silverstov got under the bus, but the law-enforcement officers dragged him out and hit him several times in the head, these hits resulted in Siliverstov passing out and he regained his senses only on the Special Police Force bus.

Silverstov and other detained were delivered to Police Department No. 5. Since Oleg’s condition got worse (faintness and sickliness) he started demanding that the police officers called an ambulance for him.

In some time the ambulance team arrived to the police department, Silverstov was examined and taken to City Hospital No. 39, where he was diagnosed with a cerebral concussion, bruises of body and face.

On the next day, 11 March, Silverstov applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report. In the course of the official check seven refusals to initiate criminal proceedings were issued, six of them were quashed by the superiors and the Prosecutor’s Office as illegal and ungrounded.

«Despite the fact that the check lasted over three years and the investigator had more than enough time to establish the circumstances relevant to the case, he, however, limited himself to the theory of the police officers – allegedly, Silverstov got injured when he accidentally slipped from the bus steps when he was taken inside the bus, and fell on the ground. At the same time two refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, issued by the investigator, were identical word for word, including the spelling and punctuation», – lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Sergey Shounin emphasizes.

Human rights defenders appealed against the last refusal in court, however, at first the District Court and then the Court of Appeal dismissed the complaint, considering this ruling to be legal.

With regard to this lawyers of the Committee for Prevention of Torture, representing the interests of Oleg Silverstov, were forced to apply to the European Court of Human Rights.

Lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Ekaterina Vanslova: «Unfortunately, applying to courts at the national level has not brought any results. Meanwhile, during this case investigation a lot of violations were committed, from delay in performing a number of verification activities to failure to evaluate the available evidence. Even the discrepancies contained in the medical expert reviews were not eradicated, not to mention the fact that the investigator’s theory was based exclusively on the testimony of the police officers, taking part in the apprehension. For example, the other witness testimony was not taken into account when the refusal to initiate criminal proceedings was issued. It appears that the investigator takes a word of the police officers, at the same time “not believing” the medical documentation and the witnesses’ statements. Let us hope that the European Court takes into account all the circumstances of the incident and provides a legal evaluation of the circumstances of the apprehension itself as well as to how efficient the check itself, performed by the investigative bodies on this incident, was».

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