Yesterday, on 19 May 2021, a period of limitation expired for bringing to criminal responsibility the police officers whom Aleksandr Semenov from Nizhny Novgorod accuses of torture. The criminal case with regard to the fact of abuse of office was initiated by the Investigative Committee investigators only in 2018 after five illegal dismissals and losing the forensic medical expert’s conclusion where the circumstances of how the victim’s bodily injuries developed were summarized. However, even after the criminal case was initiated, a very unhurried work of the investigators led to the situation when the guilty persons managed to get away with it.
As we have previously reported, on 24 May 2011, Ekaterina Semenova applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance, who told that her husband Aleksandr was beaten up by the officers of the police department No.1 of the Avtozavodsky District.
Later on, Aleksandr applied to human rights defenders himself, who described the details of what happened. According to him, on 19 May 2011, three men came to his place (one of them showed the police officer’s ID) and asked him to come with them to the police department.
“There I was taken to the third floor, made me sit on the chair and handcuffed me. The police officers told me I should confessed of murder. I responded that I never killed anyone, after that they started to beat me up, hitting my head”, – Semenov remembers.
According to Aleksandr, after the battery, the police officers applied a “swallow” torture (the man’s feet and hands are tied or handcuffed behind his back, in such state the man can be hanged, he can be beaten up or just keep in this position until he agrees to do and say what is required from him – comment from the author), and left him to “have a thought” for 20 minutes.
According to Aleksandr, despite strong pain, he still refused to confess of murder, after that he was beaten up again and a new torture was applied: “The police officer put a plastic bag over my head, blocking air access. Holding his hand hear my mouth and nose, he told me to move my head when I want to say something”.
Semenov said, that one of the police officers gave him electrical shock at his fingers, and this execution was alternately followed by applying “swallow”.
“After that I was taken to hospital for examination, and there, in fear of continuation of tortures I told the medics that I got bodily injuries falling from the truck. When I was taken back to the police department and started to be tortured again, because I refused to confess of murder, I confessed that during a conflict I beat up one of my subordinates”, – Aleksandr recounted.
After full confession was formalized, on 20 May 2011 the court imposed a pre-trial restraint to Aleksandr in the form of house arrest. Later on Semenov was sentenced to two years of conditional term for the battery of his subordinate.
It is notable, that a few days after the events, Aleksandr met in the street the exact person of whose murder he had being forced to confess.
On 20 May 2011, Ekaterina Semenova applied to the Investigative Department for the Avtozavodsky District of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region with a crime report. During the pre-investigative check the investigators issued five refusals to initiate criminal proceedings – all of them were subsequently quashed as illegal.
In their explanations, the police officers of the Avtozavodsky District informed that Semenov attempted to flee from them, ran out of the building and fell on the ground, as a result, he developed his bodily injuries.
However, in the course of the pre-investigative check, an important piece of evidence was received – a conclusion of a medical forensic expert No.3418-D where numerous bodily injuries of Aleksandr on various parts of his body were described, which, according to the expert, may have been developed on 20 May 2011 as a result of tortures of Aleksandr. At the same time, the expert ruled out the theory of the police officers, as well as the theory with falling from a truck.
But, during familiarization with the materials of the pre-investigative check, the Committee Against Torture lawyers found out that the original of this conclusion was lost. Only after numerous applications of human rights defenders to the superiors of the regional investigative department, this conclusion was found again and added to the case.
Only seven years later, on 11 December 2018, the Investigative Department for the Avtozavodsky District of Nizhny Novgorod initiated a criminal case with regards to the elements of crime under item “a” of Part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“abuse of office using violence”).
During the preliminary investigation, ex-police officer Aleksey Polushin partially acknowledged his guilt – that he may have hit the detained person several times in the face after his attempt to flee.
“In the car (“Niva” service vehicle) A.V.Semenov started to curse and shout. I cannot rule out the possibility that when I was getting in the car or inside the car I may have hit the detained person several times in the face due to the developed conflict psychological situation”, – Aleksey Polushin reported during his interrogation in the capacity of a defendant.
However, after the criminal case was initiated, the investigators failed to establish all the defendants and to timely submit the case to court. Yesterday, a period of limitation expired for bringing to criminal responsibility the police officers whom Aleksandr Semenov from Nizhny Novgorod accuses of torture, which means the guilty persons will get away with it.
“To start with, the investigators dismissed the claims to open a criminal case for five times, then they managed to lose the important evidence, but after opening the criminal case the situation did not improve much, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Kristina Diogidze comments. – Starting from the end of 2018, the investigators managed to conduct only one identity parade between the victim and the former police officer, and interrogations and face-to-face confrontations were conducted only in the last half a year. We shall be insisting on bringing the Investigative Committee investigators to disciplinary action, and we are also planning to collect an adequate compensation from the state authorities for moral damage inflicted to Semenov with inefficient investigation of his torture complaint”.