A man from Nizhny Novgorod convicted for attacking the police officer, complained to the European Court


23 August 2018

Today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in the interests of Andrey Dvortsov from Nizhny Novgorod, who accuses the police officers that they beat him up severely during apprehension. According to human rights defenders, representing the interests of Dvortsov, the article of the European Convention prohibiting torture and guaranteeing effective investigation was violated in his case, as well as the article guaranteeing fair court proceedings.

(Andrey Dvortsov, photo: Mikhail Solounin/ Mediazona)

As we have previously reported, on 26 September 2016, Manshuk Dvortsova from Druzhny settlement in Nizhny Novgorod region applied to human rights defenders with a complaint against using force against her husband, Andrey, by the policemen.

Later on, Mr Dvortsov explained that on 9 August 2016 around 8 p.m. he was outside in the street with two friends. The man had drunk some alcohol before that. According to Andrey, when they were approached by three policemen who started to ask something, he ran away.

– One of the policemen caught me and performed a reap. I fell on the ground and was handcuffed from behind. After that they were beating me for a minute or so. At some point I fell unconscious, – Dvortsov remembers.

Andrey explained that he was working as a plumber. That day he was coming back from work wearing a uniform where he had a knife in one of the sleeves which is necessary for his work. As Andrey assumes, the reason for a sudden rage of the policemen was that when one of them was catching him by the sleeve and handcuffing him, he cut his hand.

Andrey spent the night at the police department. The next day he was given a statement with two fines for 500 rubles each for appearing drunk in a public place and disobedience of the legal order of the policeman.

On the same day, he recorded the received injuries in the local first-aid station: brain concussion, bruises on the face, left earflap, shoulders, anterior abdominal wall, left forearm, left scapular region, left cnemis, lumbar region, left knee-joint area, right hip, scratch marks on the right knee-joint area and parietal region.

On the next day Andrey’s condition got worse and he had to spend eight days in city hospital No. 39 of Nizhny Novgorod. After that he spent over three weeks having ambulant therapy.

During his treatment, Andrey learnt about initiating a criminal case against him for attacking a policeman. It took Ekaterina Abanina, investigator of the Investigative Committee for the Nizhny Novgorod region Investigative Department for Kstovo, four months to investigate this case.

Mr Dvortsov himself also applied to the Investigative Committee with a complaint against the police officers. The same investigator Abanina was assigned to perform the check of this complaint. By the present moment six refusals to initiate criminal proceedings have been issued, five of which were subsequently declared illegal and quashed. Human rights defenders have appealed appealing against the last refusal.

On 7 December 2017, the Kstovo City Court declared Andrey Dvorstov guilty of committing the crime under Part 2 of Article 318 of the Criminal Code of Russia (“applying violence against the representative of authority, threatening to life or health”). The court imposed him a penalty in the form of three years of prison term in a standard security penal colony. On 16 April 2018, the Nizhegorodsky Regional Court upheld this verdict.

Due to failure to defend Andrey Dvortsov’s violated rights at the national lvel, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture were forced to submit a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.

“We think that, apart from illegal applying violence against Andrey Dvortsov and absence of effective investigation of this fact, the judicial investigation with regard to our applicant was unfair, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments. – For example, in the course of court examination of the charge against Dvortsov with regard to the attacking the police officer, the adversarial principle and the principle of equality of the parties were violated, since the court prevented the defense party from expressing its stance, did not provide for presence of a number of witnesses, did not evaluate the evidence provided by the defense party. Dvortsov was deprived of opportunity to attach an expert conclusion to the materials of the case, he was also denied an additional medical forensic expert examination with evaluation of the victim. In general, the court proceedings of Dvortsov’s case have accusational bias – all this is a separate violation of the European Convention”.

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