After almost 7 years former police officers from Orenburg are sentenced to jail time for electricity torture


23 December 2015

Today, on 23 December 2015 the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg announced the verdict for two former criminal investigations department police officers under the Department of the Interior for Orenburg, Kirill Sorokin and Aleksey Pustovidov. They were declared guilty of committing the crime under item «a» part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the RF (abuse of office with use of force) and sentenced to four and a half years prison term each. The defendants were taken into custody in the court room.

(Photo: Aleksandr Zhdan)

As we have previously reported, in July 2009 Mr Zhdan applied to the Orenburg regional branch of the NGO «Committee Against Torture» seeking legal assistance. According to the applicant, on 22 January 2009, when being a witness in criminal proceedings, he was apprehended by the police and taken to a department, where police officers tortured him with electricity. The severe torture provoked a stroke of cerebral apoplexy, and the officers had to take him to hospital. Aleksandr, who had suffered no health conditions before the detention, was after that granted a disability status, the II group according to Russian scale. In the course of his medical rehabilitation, arranged for by the Committee Against Torture, doctors managed to restore his speech function, but Aleksandr’s right hand and partly one leg will remain paralyzed for life.

For five years human rights defenders were seeking justice at the national level. Lawyers lodged dozens various complaints with the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor’s Offices and courts on Aleksandr’s behalf. The lawyers representing his interests appealed against at least ten unlawful refusal to investigate. Twice courts sustained claims for compensation for moral damage inflicted by the officers’ unlawful actions. However, there was no progress in the criminal investigation, and the pre-investigation inquiry, which the relevant procedural law gives 3 days to be finished, lasted for years.

Having exhausted all possible remedies for restoring Aleksandr’s rights at the national level the human rights defenders submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in April 2014 (in February of this year it was communicated). As it turned out, a criminal case was nevertheless initiated sometime before that based on the fact of abuse of office with use of force.

The pre-trial investigation on this case lasted for 11 months, after the confirmation of the indictment by the Deputy Prosecutor of the district it was sent to court.

(Former police officers are hiding their faces)

It took the judge of the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg Tatyana Pronkina a whole month to assign court hearing of this criminal case. During this time four preliminary court sessions were held for examination of numerous motions from the defendants’ defense on their merits.

During this month defendant Pustovidov changed his lawyer three times and the court provided an opportunity to familiarize with the case materials to each of them. As a result, when it became obvious for the court that Pustovidov was abusing his rights, he was assigned a lawyer and the court could commence examination of the criminal case on its merits. 

During past months the court questioned the victim, witnesses and defendants, written materials of the criminal case were scrutinized. Intending, as it seems, to delay the trial, the defendants expresses doubts in the psychic health of the victim and filed a motion requesting to conduct the appropriate examination. In order to eliminate all doubts Aleksandr Zhban agreed to pass this examination, the results of which showed that he is mentally sane.

Today judge Tatyana Pronkina passed a verdict: two former criminal investigators Kirill Sorokin and Aleksey Pustovidov are declared guilty of committing the crime under item «a» part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the RF (abuse of office with use of force) and sentenced to four and a half years prison term each in the standard regime penal colony.

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