A criminal case on the convict’s lethal battery at Nizhny Novgorod penal colony No.14 is resumed

News

07 July 2021

Photo: Aleksey Malgavko / RIA Novosti

On 6 July 2021, in the course of the court hearing with regard to the application submitted by the Committee Against Torture against the suspending of the criminal case concerning the fact of death at Penal Colony No.14, it turned out that this case had been resumed by the Investigative Committee a day before the court hearing. Previously, the investigators illegally suspended the investigation several times. It took two years of concentrated effort of the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture for the investigative authorities to start giving an adequate evaluation of the material on the murder of a man in a closed institution. It remains a mystery why the cases related to law-enforcement officers’ abuse of office are examined for years in the framework of the legislation of our country. 

As we have previously reported, in September 2015, Nina Markova applied to human rights defenders asking to initiate public investigation based on the fact of violent death of her brother, Aleksandr Kulemin, in November 2014, at Penal Colony No.14 (the Nizhny Novgorod region, the Sukhovobezvodnoye settlement). Kulemin’s sentence at the same penal colony started in October 2014, and as early as in November when Markova received a telegram about the death of her brother.
 
Posthumous expert examination of Aleksandr Kulemin also registered numerous bodily injuries on his body, for example: “Closed blunt craniocerebral injury, closed indirect fractures of the 5-th, 6-th and 7-th ribs on the left…”. Mr Kulemin’s body was practically fully covered with bruises and fractures. 

Despite the described bodily injuries, the official special reports of Penal Colony No.14 superiors with regard to these deaths feature one and the same preliminary diagnosis: “acute cardiovascular inefficiency”.

As we have previously reported, Penal Colony No.14 (the Nizhny Novgorod region, the Sukhovobezvodnoye settlement) became notorious due to a large number of complaints against brutal treatment and tortures of convicts, as well as violent actions of sexual character.

For a long time, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture were not allowed to familiarize with the materials of this criminal case. Time after time, the lawyers appealed against illegal dismissals. 

On 6 July 2021, in the course of the judicial examination, human rights defenders familiarized themselves with the ruling on resuming the criminal case, which was presented by the defendant’s representative — investigator for major cases with the first section of the Investigative Department for the Nizhny Novgorod region Ilya Chuyev. Notably, the ruling was passed exactly one day before the court hearing. For 2 years, human rights defenders had to go a long way: to appeal against the dismissal of a claim to familiarize with the materials of the criminal case, then to appeal against the inaction of the investigative authorities, and finally, to learn in the court room that the Investigative Committee agrees that the work in the case was performed not effectively enough. 

It remains a mystery why it took two years for an adequate evaluation of the material, and the ruling is transferred to court on the day of human rights defenders’. We continue to work on the case of Aleksandr Kulemin who died in Penal Colony No.14. “Unfortunately, our hopes for effective work of the investigative department after the criminal case was transferred from the district investigative department, were in vain, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin comments. — Only after appealing against the investigator’s illegal actions in court, the superior finds in his subordinate the same faults which we indicate in our complaint”.