Sergey Neklyayev from Nizhny Novgorod accuses the police officers of breaking his arm during apprehension in May 2020 for being in the street without a QR-code. After that, according to Neklyayev, he spent seven days in a detention room with a fracture and no medical assistance was rendered to him. No criminal cases have been opened with regard to these episodes until now. After the dismissal of a claim to open a criminal case under Neklyayev’s application concerning the actions of police officers was quashed recently, the investigators started a new check.
On 27 May 2020, Sergey Neklyayev from Nizhny Novgorod applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. He told human rights defenders that on 5 May 2020 he was apprehended by the police officers during a walk with acquaintances of his along the Nizhnevolzhskaya Embankment. According to Sergey, absence of “QR-codes” (necessary for going outside during the COVID-2019 pandemia-related alert period) became an excuse for their apprehension.
According to Neklyayev, during the apprehension, the police officers pressed him and acquaintances of his against the service vehicle and started to brutally push him inside. According to Sergey, he bumped against the door opening with his hands, because there was a jam in the car and it did not appear possible to get inside.
“The police officers perceived it as resistance and several of them pulled me back by both of my hands, turned me to the left and put me on the pavement face down, – Sergey says. – One of the officers brutally handcuffed my hands behind my back, by pulling my arms behind to the back of my head along the spine, pressing his knee against my back. After I was handcuffed, the officers tried to lift me from the floor, someone pulled me up by my handcuffed hands, some by the shoulders, due to that I felt sharp physical pain. At that moment, I shouted that I was in pain”.
Witnesses of the incident managed to make a video record of what was going on.
Neklyayev was taken to Police Department No.5 where reports on administrative violation were issued under Article 19.3 of the Criminal Code of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation (“failure to obey to legal order or demand of a police officer”) and under Article 20.6.1 Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation (“failure to obey the rules of behavior during emergency or its threat”). Sergey was put to the cell for administratively detained. On the next day, the court declared Neklyayev to be guilty under both articles and sentenced him to seven days of administrative arrest and a fine of ten thousand rubles.
According to Sergey, right after he was taken to a special detention room for persons arrested for administrative violations with the Department of the Ministry of the Interior for Nizhny Novgorod for serving the sentence, he repeatedly attempted to bring the attention of the officers to strong pain in his right hand.
“At my admission I was examined not immediately, but after several hours. A paramedic paid attention to the swelling of the right hand and to the injury under the eye. I was complaining of strong pain in the shoulder area, asked to give me medicine, but nothing was provided. Several times I asked the institution stuff to call my wife and ask her to bring medicines. After my release my wife told me that she called an ambulance to the detention facility but the doctors were not allowed to go to me”, – Sergey says.
According to Neklyayev, all the time that he spent at the detention facility, his arm ached, he could not unbend it in the elbow and could not hold it fix.
“Every evening the detention facility officers made a walkdown and asked me about the state of my arm. All the time I replied that it hurt a lot. The paramedics would examine the hand but did nothing more to help me, only once they applied a iodic net on the fracture”, – Sergey explained.
After Sergey was released from the detention facility, he applied for medical assistance to the first-aid station of the Nizhegorodsky District of Nizhny Novgorod. The doctors x-rayed him and diagnosed him with a marginal fracture of the right shoulder’s lateral condyle, closed craniocerebral injury, suspected brain concussion.
Later on, after the additional examinations, the diagnosis was reviewed as joint fracture of the right elbow bone coronoid.
On 8 May, Sergey’s wife applied to police with a crime report with regard to the fact of applying force against Sergey by the police officers during apprehension. The report was transferred to the Investigative Committee.
On 5 June, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the Investigative Committee in the interests of Sergey Neklyayev with a crime report based on the fact of failure to render medical assistance by the detention facility officers, deeming that the officials’ actions amount to the crime under Article 293 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“negligence”).
Based on the results of the checks, the investigators have already twice dismissed claims to open criminal cases against either the police officers or the detention facility staff.
On 4 August, human rights defenders applied with a lawsuit to the Leninsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod and asked to declare illegal the inaction of the medical staff of the detention facility who did not provide Sergey Neklyayev with appropriate medical assistance. On 19 November, judge Galina Golubeva dismissed the application of the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, having deemed that denying access to the ambulance was legal and the iodic net application was a sufficient measure in case of arm fracture.
On 2 December, Deputy Prosecutor of the Nizhegorodsky District of Nizhny Novgorod Vladimir Mityurin satisfied the application of the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture and declared illegal the investigator’s second dismissal of the application about the police officers, having requested that the Investigative Committee investigators conducted a new, better one, check of Neklyayev’s arguments.
“The law established the right of the administratively detained to medical assistance from a competent medic: a paramedic of the detention facility cannot be called that. This is established by the Ministry of Health’s order. This order also stipulates that the officers are obliged to call an ambulance if needed, and this was not done. Due to this reason, we consider the court ruling to be illegal and will be appealing against it, as well as the investigator’s ruling with regard to the failure to render an appropriate medical assistance to Sergey at the detention facility, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Kristina Diogidze comments. – We intend to organize a medical investigation of the circumstances of how Sergey Neklyayev received his injury in order to find out whether the fracture became a consequence of brutal treatment of the police officers with the detained. If this is confirmed, then we shall insist on both disciplinary and criminal responsibility with regard to the police officers”.