The Leninsky District Court of Orenburg partially satisfied the lawsuit of Larisa Pikalova, who was being subjected to illegal criminal prosecution for over two years.
In May 2010, residents of Orenburg Yury Zontov, Svetlana Gumerova, Larisa Pikalova and tree acquaintances of theirs (the latter did not apply to the Committee Against Torture) were apprehended on suspicion of committing a series of thefts and taken to the police department. According to the applicants, they were beaten up there, being forced to sign a confession, which they did, having yielded to violence.
Later on, the doctors diagnosed Pikalova with bruises, extravasations, closed craniocerebral injury, brain concussion. Yury Zontov was registered with hematoma of the chest tissues. Apart from hematomas and bruises, experts also put down that Gumerova had a section of the skin without hair, in the hairy part of the head. Over two years later, a person who actually performed thefts was identified. The criminal prosecution of the six residents of Orenburg was dismissed.
The victims applied to the Investigative Committee with regard to the fact of tortures, however, in November 2010, investigator Nadezhda Vorobeykina issued a dismissal of a claim to open a criminal case.
In 2019, Yury Zontov applied to the Committee Against Torture. Half a year after his application, human rights defenders, with the help of the Prosecutor’s Office ensured that the investigation was resumed, and then, two other victims, Larisa Pikalova and Svetlana Gumerova, also applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to the residents of Orenburg, in 2010 they were so intimidated and completely lost the faith in justice, that for many years they did not have a heart to appeal against the investigator’s ruling.
The regional Investigative Committee issued three dismissals of claims to open a criminal case. As a result, in 2020 the criminal case based on the fact of abuse of office with the use of violence and special equipment was opened and transferred to the 1st department for major cases of the Investigative Department with the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region.
In the same year, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture became aware that investigator Azamat Zhamansariyev brought charges against acting police officer Ivan Kudinov, as well as against former police officers Denis Fedorov and Sergey Kornilov. There is the fourth participant in the case – previously convicted former police officer Eduard Makayev. The criminal prosecution against him was dismissed due to the expiry of the period of limitations. Other persons involved in the case insist on their non-involvement in the battery of the applicants.
In September 2020, the Prosecutor’s Office of Orenburg offered its apologies to Gumerova and Pikalova. At the present time, the criminal case is transferred for examination to judge of the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg Aleksandra Aleksandrova. The preliminary court hearing is scheduled for 14 December.
“The ruling of the Leninsky District Court once again emphasizes that applying tortures cannot be a method of fighting the crime, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin comments, – Larisa Pikalova and Svetlana Gumerova, who was also previously awarded 150 000 rubles by the court, had not been brought to criminal responsibility before and have not had been ever since. They incriminated themselves under torture. The two years that they were forced to spend under investigation – with all searches and interrogations – inflicted deepest moral sufferings to them, which are difficult to be compensated with money. That is why the mere fact of offering apologies by the state from the Prosecutor’s Office and awarding a compensation to them is an important stage on the way to justice”.