Natalya Bulanina from Orenburg claims the police officers beat her up in November 2019 during apprehension in the street for drunkenness and took away a 10-year old niece from her. Bulanina applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report, however, the Committee has dismissed the claim to open a criminal case for three times already. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to court with a complaint against the investigator’s ruling.
On 13 February 2020, Natalya Bulanina applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. She told human rights defenders that on 2 November 2019 she drank moonshine with her neighbor, and a little later her niece called her and asked her to collect her ten-year old daughter. According to Natalya, she went to the nieces and together with the younger one returned home, and sometime later they went to buy some groceries together. In the street they were stopped by Patrol Guard Service officers who demanded that they presented ID for herself and the kid. According to Natalya, she explained that the girl was her niece and that they did not have any ID on them. The police officers said that Natalya was drunk and that is why they were taking the girl away.
“At some moment, a policewoman took my niece by the hand and pull it. The kid started to cry, and I started to actively resist against them taking my niece away. I realized she was going to take the kid away by force, that is why I hugged my niece with both hands, trying to hold her. At this moment both male police officers spread my arms and the female police officer put the crying girl inside the car, to the backseat, – Natalya recalls. – Then the police officer hit me with a rubber truncheon at my right hand in the area of the forearm from the internal side (at this moment I was in bent position with my hands pulled back, the hit was performed with a truncheon from up to down). In addition, one of the male police officers hit me twice with a rubber truncheon at my legs”.
After the apprehension the police officers took the girl to the Juvenile Division, from where some time later she was picked up by the elder sister, and Natalya was taken for medical examination during which alcoholic intoxication was registered. After that Bulanina was taken to Police Department No.4 of Orenburg where the protocol of administrative offence under Article 20.21 of Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation (“public drunkenness”), after that he was released.
Later on, medical forensic expert established in his conclusion that Bulanina had “bodily injuries in the form of extravasations amounting to five on arms and legs, bruises on the left hand”, having indicated that the obtained injuries could be caused by blows with a rubber truncheon and applying handcuffs.
The female police officer who apprehended Natalya and her niece, wrote a report on the same day, claiming that Bulanina insulted her. The Investigative Committee conducted a check and dismissed a claim to open a criminal case.
On 11 November 2019, Natalya Bulanina applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report with regard to violence and special equipment applied to her during apprehension.
However, Senior Investigator with the Investigative Department for the Northern Administrative District of Orenburg Mikhail Dudnikov issued a ruling dismissing the criminal case five months later instead of thirty days (maximum period for this stipulated by the law) – it turned out that all this time Bulanina’s statement was handed over from one department to another, without any investigative activities.
In total, investigator Dudnikov issued three rulings dismissing the claim to open a criminal case, the last dated 6 November 2020.
Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture appealed against the last dismissal of the investigator, however, head of the Investigative Committee dismissed the application. Human rights defenders submitted the similar application to the superiors of the Investigative Department of the RF for the Orenburg region, however, they also considered that the investigator’s ruling was legal. Now, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted to court an application with regard to the investigator’s dismissal. “We think that investigator Dudnikov is performing the check with regard to Natalya Bulanina’s application in an extremely ineffective way. One year and four months later he still has not examined the incident scene or established potential witnesses or seized the video records from the police officer who was filming Natalya’s apprehension using a phone, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments.