A resident of Nalchik applied to the European Court with a torture complaint


08 June 2021

Today, on 8 June 2021, lawyers of the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Timur Zhambekov from Nalchik who complaints of the battery and electricity torture by the police officers in 2017. Human rights defenders think that the Russian authorities violated the articles of the European Convention guaranteeing the freedom from torture and the right to effective investigation with regard to Zhambekov.

In March 2018, Timur Zhambekov from Nalchik applied to the North Caucasus branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to Timur, on 2 June 2017 he was apprehended by the police officers in Nalchik – handcuffed him, put a black plastic bag on his head and brought him home where a search was conducted.

– Four police officers were in Priora with me. All of them were in masks. At first, the car drove to my place, we were driving for about ten minutes. During this time, they were beating my head, face, ribs and back. There were about thirty blows on the head and about a hundred – on the body, – Zhambekov recalls.

After the search, during which four hunting rifles left by an acquaintance of his were seized, Rustam was taken to the Department of Criminal Investigations for the Kabardino-Balkar Republic. There the police officers started to demand that he confessed of thefts. According to Zhambekov, the police officers removed the handcuffs from him, winded the plastic bag on his head with a scotch tape, put him down on the floor, having tied up his feet with scotch tape, too, and started beat him up.

– While they were going to get a scotch tape I managed to punch a hole in the plastic bag near the left eye, and sometimes I could see something through it. There were four officers in the room, who took off their masks, as they did not fear I would be able to see them, – Timur adds.

According to Zhambekov, in this room they beat him and kicked him at various parts of his body, hit him several times with a fire extinguisher, periodically applied torturing with electricity attaching wire to his fingers and sometimes to his earlobes. According to Timur, the battery continued for several hours, as a result of which he signed a confession.

Together with Zhambekov, his cousin and three acquaintances were apprehended. According to them, the police officers tortured them as well, and demanded that they confessed of theft. As a result, a criminal case on suspicion of conducting several thefts was initiated against all five of the apprehended.

As it follows from the medical forensic examination conducted on 14 June 2017, Timur had bodily injuries: “A blunt closed trauma of the rib cage in the form of a linear fracture of the 9th rib along the axillary furrow with non-displaced fragments, extravasations of the rib cage, left upper limb, both lower limbs, bruises on the back, on the shoulder, on the chest on the left, on the wrist on the right”. The expert established that the victim was inflicted a moderate health damage.

On 5 June 2017, Timur submitted an application to the Investigative Committee about violence and electricity torture applied against him. During the pre-investigative check, the investigators were ignoring Zhambekov’s medical documentation data, did not timely question the witnesses, did not conduct examination of the incident scene, did not establish and question all the police officers involved in Timur’s apprehension.

In total, there have been issued nineteen dismissals of claims to open a criminal case, eighteen of which were subsequently declared illegal. The last dismissal was issued by the investigator in February of this year, and, after familiarization with all the materials of the check, human rights defenders will be appealing against it.

“The investigators in fact sabotaged the investigation with regard to Zhambekov’s application, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Magomed Alamov comments. – For several years they did not question Timur’s acquaintances who were apprehended together with him and saw him beaten up in the building of the criminal investigations department. They also did not clear the controversies in the explanations of the questioned officers, some of which explained that they did not participate in Timur’s apprehension, and others disprove these claims”.

Due to the fact that no effective investigation was achieved at the national level, today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Timur Zhambekov. According to the human rights defenders, the state violated the articles of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, guaranteeing the freedom from torture and the right to effective investigation.

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