Sergey Moderatov and Sergey Mitin from the Nizhny Novgorod region accuse the police officers of the Buturlinsky District of forcing them to confess of stealing some metal scrap. The police officers claim that they were only questioning the young men, however, after spending some time at the police station Mr Moderatov was diagnosed with a closed craniocerebral injury, and disabled Mr Mitin – with an incurable psychic condition “phobic anxiety disorder” which led to a grave bodily harm. The Investigative Committee’s investigators have already twice dismissed the claim to open a criminal case, but after the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to the court they were forced to initiate the check based on the young men’s applications for the third time.
In October 2019, eighteen-year old Sergey Moderatov and twenty-two year old Sergey Mitin from Buturlino settlement of the Nizhny Novgorod region applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. They reported that on 16 October they were called to the police department for the Buturlinsky District of the intermunicipal department of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia “Knyagininsky” without any explanations.
There, according to the applicants, they were tortured for several hours in the adjoining rooms, being forced to confess of stealing the metal scrap. According to the young men, the police officers were beating them up, put gas masks on them and choke off air access, threatened with firearms.
“The police officer took out a gun which he recharged, set it next to my temple, after that he started to spin it, sitting on a chair in about a meter from me, he threatened that he would shoot me at attempt to flee and would throw my body from the second floor. He also threatened that he would hit me with an electrical shocker if I did not confess”, – Sergey Moderatov described.
According to Moderatov, one of the police officers hit him several times: “One of the blows was on the head and it was so strong that I passed out and fell. I came to my senses when a police officer was hitting me in the stomach and telling me: “Quit pretending, get up”.
According to Sergey Mitin (who has been a mental handicap since childhood and is adjudged incapable), the police officers were threatening to break his fingers, till he confesses of stealing the metal scrap and brought a charged gun to his head.
“One of the police officers took out a brown colored gas wrench and threatened that he would pull my nails out if I did not confess. One of the officers started to open my mouth and the other one was holding the gas wrench to pull my teeth out, but I broke away”, – Mitin recalls.
In addition, according to Sergey, the police officers were hitting him in the area of the solar plexus, knees and groin. Mitin says that the police officers gave him some paper to sign, and, in order to stop the tortures, he put some tick there, because due to his illness he cannot read or write. Later on, it turned out that this document was Sergey Mitin’s explanation, in which he confesses that he stole metal scrap together with Sergey Moderatov. In the end of the explanation it was stated: “the above is an accurate record of my statement, read by me”.
In the end, Sergey Moderatov did not provide any confession.
After a few hours at the police department the young men were released home.
Next morning, Sergey Moderatov fainted at his place. After that, he and his mother went to the Central Buturlinsky Hospital. After having examined Sergey, doctors diagnosed him with closed craniocerebral injury, contusions in the area of the neck, loins, lower thigh”. Sergey was hospitalized and spent eleven days at the department of surgery.
Sergey Mitin also applied to the Central Buturlinsky Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a contusion of the anterior abdominal wall and contusions of knee joints.
According to Sergey Mitin’s mother, she started to notice changes in her son’s psychic condition: he started to fear every sound, shudder in his sleep and at at every knock on the door, grew afraid to watch movies with police officers in them and to go outside or stay at home alone, became secluded, not talkative, low spirited. The Mitin family applied to the psychotherapist who diagnosed Sergey with an illness that he had not previously had – “phobic anxiety disorder”.
Later on, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the specialist in the field of the medical forensic examination. Based on the results of Segey Mitin’s state of health examination, the specialist pointed out: “phobic anxiety disorder” is an illness when a person reacts to safe stimulants with a whiplash of fear. This condition is incurable… its development is in direct cause effect relationship with the events described by Mitin which inflicted a grave harm to his health”.
On 18 October 2019, the victims’ mothers submitted an application to the Prosecutor of the Buturlinsky District which was transferred to the Investigative Committee.
Based on the results of the check, Senior Investigator of the Bolshemurashkinsky Interdistrict Investigative Department with the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region Vladimir Masanov twice illegally dismissed the claim to open a criminal case, having failed to detect an element of crime in the police officers’ actions. Human rights defenders appealed to court against the last dismissal of the investigator dated 18 December 2019.
Yesterday, on 24 November 2020, at the Buturlinsky District Court in the course of examination of this application investigator Masanov claimed that the dismissal of the claim to open a criminal case was quashed a day before – on 23 November, having pointed out that for the completeness of the check it is necessary to conduct an examination of the scene of the incident.
“In the latest dismissal, investigator Masanov pointed at the absence of harm to health of Sergey Mitin, although he did not even assign the psychiatric examination. Instead, after one year, the investigator decided to perform a visual examination of the scene of the incident which cannot tell much at this point, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Kristina Diogidze comments. – Sergey Moderatov was inflicted a mild harm to health at the police station, and disabled from childhood Sergey Mitin was inflicted a grave harm. Up to now the investigative authorities have not come with a reasonable explanation of how this harm was inflicted to the applicants, that is why we continue to insist on opening a criminal case and conducting a full-fledged effective investigation”.