Today, on 31 August 2020, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Andrey Bodashko from the Orenburg region. He claims that the police officers of Police Department No.1 of Orsk broke his hand when he attempted to go home from the police department. Human rights defenders conducted a public inquiry and came to conclusion that the police officers behaved in a very non-professional manner – even if they had the grounds for applying force, they should have minimized the risk of inflicting severe injuries to Mr Bodashko. In addition, in the opinion of the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, the state did not provide for effective investigation of the incident that happened at the police department.
As we have previously reported, Andrey Bodashko told human rights defenders that in the morning of 2 April 2019 he came to visit a friend of his. On that day he had an acute condition of his chronic illness, and the arrived medics hospitalized him. Andrey was allowed to follow his friend. According to Bodashko, for a long time his friend was provided with any assistance at hospital, that is why he started to voice claims against medics and “a couple of times knocked on the door with a toe-cap of his shoe”. Some time after that, two officers of private security company arrived, then – two police officers who questioned the medics and delivered Andrey to the police department.
According to Andrey, no actions were performed to him at the police department. To his question why he was delivered there, one of the officers replied “for you to sit and think”. Andrey claimed that he was about to leave the police department because he was not detained neither arrested. At the exit two police officers caught him up, twisted his arms behind his back and brought him back to the office room.
“When they brought me to the office room, the police officers started to insult me with obscene invectives, at the same time twisting my arms stronger and inflicting me severe pain. At that moment I felt a blow at the right hand higher than ankle and felt a sharp pain which caused me to pass out”, – Andrey described.
The police officers stick to a different version, that Bodashko was using invectives at the police department, and hit one of the police officers in the chest. According to their explanations, Andrey got his fracture himself, when he attempted to resist to twisting his arms behind his back: he sharply sat and rose while his arms were held.
An ambulance was called for victim Bodashko, which delivered him to hospital where he underwent a surgery. On the next day, a protocol was drawn up with regard to Andrey, which stated that he: “used obscene invectives at hospital, shouted, knocked on the door, violated the public order with his actions”.
On 3 April, Andrey’s parents applied to the Investigative Department for Orsk of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region with a crime report, but the investigators were not in much hurry to perform a check. The Investigative Committee officers twice illegally redirected the crime report to the same police department against the officers of which Andrey was complaining. From this department the material was sent back twice. As a result, the investigators had to conduct a check, based on the results of which they refused to open a criminal case for six times, five of these refusals were subsequently declared illegal.
“After the dismissal of another illegal ruling the checking was conducted drowsily, with a lack of spirit. The investigators did not seize the video records from the police department in time, due to that they were irrevocably lost. For a long time, they did not question the witnesses and participants of the events of that day. The checking activities, including assigning the expert examinations, were conducted by the investigators only after our complaints and motions, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatullin comments. – In the end of last year, a number of executive authorities of the Investigative Department were brought to responsibility for violations committed during the check”.
Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture made an unsuccessful attempt to appeal to court against the sixth refusal to initiate criminal proceedings, the courts of two instances dismissed this application, having agreed with the investigative authorities’ conclusion that Andrey Bodashko broke his arm himself.
With regard to this, today, human rights defenders applied to the European Court of Human Rights in the interests of Andrey Bodashko.
“We think that the version of the authorities that Bodashko obtained his arm injury because of his own actions to be ungrounded, as during the investigation the investigator never assessed the rightfulness of applying physical force against the applicant considering all the evidence collected in the case – for example, expert examinations’ conclusions and explanations of Bodashko himself. Even if we suppose that the police officers had grounds for applying physical violence against Bodashko, his injury – a broken arm – is quite serious and is covered by Article of the European Convention prohibiting tortures, brutal or degrading treatment. We also think that the force applied by the police officers was obviously out of proportion with the administrative violation that the applicant was charged with”, – lawyer with the International & Legal Department with the Committee Against Torture Mariya Zadorozhnaya comments.