Today, on 9 February 2021, the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling with regard to an application by Roman Gastemirov from the Chechen Republic who complained of brutal treatment at the Grozny police department in 2005. The court established that Roman was subjected to tortures by the police officers and that no investigation was conducted on his application in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention. He was awarded a compensation for moral damage in the amount of 50 000 euro.
In the evening of 10 August 2005, Gastemirov was apprehended by the police officers and taken to the Leninsky District of the Interior of Grozny. There, according to the police officers started to beat him up with arms and feet, hitting the various parts of his body and tortured him with electricity forcing him to confess of being involved in illegal armed groups.
“They were like animals, – Roman recalled afterwards, – it seemed I was on a different, non-human planet”.
When he was admitted at the detention facility on 20 August 2005, Gastemirov had: “on the right, in the scapular region, – a hematoma, on the right and on the left in the groin – hematomas”. Later on, medical forensic examination confirmed that Gastemirov had the above mentioned traumas. The expert failed to identify the time when the hematomas developed, since by the moment of the expert examination they already healed, and the medical statement of Gastemirov from the detention facility, on the basis of which the expert examination was conducted, did not have a description of the hematomas color.
On 6 September 2005, Gastemirov applied to the Prosecutor of the Chechen Republic with a request “to consider his testimony invalid”, as it was obtained as a result of violence by the police officers. On 17 October 2005, he applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance.
The criminal case based on Gastemirov’s torture complaint was never opened, despite all efforts of human rights defenders. Three out of four dismissals of the claims to open a criminal case were dismissed as illegal ones. Appealing against the forth dismissal did not bring any positive results. According to the investigative authorities, Gastemirov provided his testimony voluntarily, and the police officers did not apply violence against him. The version of the investigative authorities is based on the explanations of the police officers themselves. Neither Gastemirov, nor the witnesses that saw his traumas after the apprehension, were ever questioned, and the results of Gastemirov’s medical forensic examination were never evaluated.
On 27 January 2006, Gastemirov was sentenced to 6 months of imprisonment for involvement in illegal armed group. The claims that his testimony about committing the crime was obtained as a result of violence applied by the police officers against him, were rejected as groundless.
Since human rights defenders failed to reinstate Roman Gastemirov’s rights at the national level, on 25 March 2010 they submitted an application on his behalf to the European Court of Human Rights.
Today, the ECHR issued a ruling on this application.
The court acknowledged that Roman Gastemirov was subjected to torture in violation of Article 3 of the Convention, and that no effective investigation of this fact was carried out.
With regard to this, a compensation of moral damage in the amount of 50 000 Euro was awarded to the applicant.