A threat of rape becomes a major interrogation tool


09 April 2012

The Nizhny Novgorod office of the Committee Against Torture has received applications from Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov alleging tortures by the police. According to the applicants, at night on March 2, 2012 they were in Gasanov’s home together with friends. All of a sudden, a dozen of men in civilian clothes broke in and shouting “Police!” put everyone on the floor facedown.

Without producing their documents they started searching the house. Several minutes later one of the agents brought two license plates in a plastic bag – those turned out to be license plates of a stolen car. Among the law enforcers Elshan Zamanov recognized Criminal Investigation Head of the 1st police department, Avtozavodsky district of Nizhny Novgorod, Sergey Alimov who grabbed the owner – Nizami Gasanov – by the collar, took him to a neighboring room and demanded that he should sign a consent to search and confession to stealing a car. He reinforced his demands by twisting the applicant’s arms, while another policeman slapped Gasanov on the ears and punched him in the chest.

During the search a large sum of money disappeared, Gasanov insisted that the police should return it, but the police replied they had not seen it.  When the owner promised to go to court, the officers started looking for it. When Gasanov saw the bag with the money and bent down to pick it up, one of the agents hit him in the back of his head. He fell down and the police started kicking him.  The money was registered as evidence. After the search all men were taken to the 1st police department in the Avtozavodsky district of Nizhny Novgorod. The detainees spent the whole night standing in the corridor, they were not allowed to sit down and only once taken to the toilette.

The interrogation was carried out in accordance with the regular procedure: Nizami Gasanov was taken to a room with seven operative investigators, seated on the floor; his wrists were handcuffed behind his back. In order to make him confess to car theft they three times put a plastic bag on the detainee’s head who thrice tore it with his teeth. After two hours of choking and beatings Gasanov agreed to sign everything the tormentors needed. The following day he was questioned in presence of a lawyer, however, the latter neglected Gasanov’s complaints about ill-treatment considering them false.  Nevertheless, the applicant changed his statement and said how everything really was. After the questioning Gasanov was led to another room, where he was visited by the Criminal Police Head who threatened him with beatings and rape if Gasanov did not tell them how he had stolen the car. The officer beat the detainee with his legs, snatched him by the hair and struck in the face. At the end of the torture he menaced Gasanov with rape and tried to take his trousers off. The detainee was unable to stand that and agreed to confess to stealing the car.

The second detainee – Elshan Zamanov – was interrogated in a similar fashion. The Criminal Police Head told him that he would not let him go alive if he did not confess, and in support of his threats he kicked Zamanov down and cruelly beat him together with other policemen. After that the Criminal Police Head said: “We will rape you and send a video of the rape to your prison”. Zamanov got scared and wrote a confession.  

On March 7 both applicants were examined in the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Forensic Medical Examination Bureau. Elshan Zamanov’s examination revealed a bruise in the left eye region, he was diagnosed with retinal detachment and had a surgery, Nizami Gasanov’s examination revealed three bruises in the lower back region and on the right shin. Already on March 10 Gasanov and Zamanov applied to the investigative authorities in connection with tortures, however they were questioned only on April 8, 2012. Unfortunately, the authorities are again not in a hurry to conduct a prompt and effective check of torture allegations.

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