Deputy Prosecutor of the Krasnodar Territory Andrey Buchman declared the investigator’s refusal to initiate criminal proceedings with regard to married couple Olga Shvetsova and Valery Malakhov’s complaint about tortures at the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Gulkevichsky District to be illegal. At the present time additional check is being conducted.
In June 2019, residents of the Kurganinsky District of the Krasnodar Territory – married couple Olga Shvetsova and Valery Malakhov applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. They informed human rights defenders that the police officers of the Gulkevichsky Police Department beat them up in April 2018, while forcing them to sign a confession of murder of an old woman who used to dwell next door to them.
According to the applicants, on 14 April 2018, the investigative officers brought them from their home to the Gulkevichsky Police Department. There, according to Ms Shvetsova, the police officers intentionally smoked inside the office, which led to her suffocating, since she has asthma condition. They also hit her head with a thick book, hit her body with their hands, twisted her handcuffed arms, threatened that they will find drugs at her son’s place.
That’s what Valery Malakhov told about his stay at the police department: “I was told I should write a confession, and if I confess I’d get six years, and if not – fifteen. After I refused, some of the officers came up behind me and started to pour boiling water onto me: he poured on the top of my head, the water was flowing on the back of my head. It hurt a lot, and the police officers commented: “We are going to skin you alive now, you’ll be like Fantomas”.
The medical forensic examination report stated: “Valery Malakhov was incurred damage in the form of a thermal burn with a hot liquid of the occipital region and the neck of I and II degree of 1% of the surface of the body, an extravasation of the right thigh, which was generated from impact force of a solid blunt object”.
On the next day the married couple was released.
However, on 19 April, Olga Shevtsova was taken to the local police department again. There, according to her, the police officers beat her up again, forcing to confess: “The investigative officer took a big empty plastic bottle from a dispenser and started to hit me with it – my head, shoulders, my back. He made three or four blows, I started to dodge, the police officer said if I dodge, he’ll handcuff me”.
Olga Shvetsova was taken in custody twice: on 21 April 2018 and on 2 July 2019. In the first case she was never charged and 10 days later she was released. And on 2 July 2019, she was detained, she was charged with murder. Now she is kept at the Pre-Trial Detention Center No.1 of Krasnodar.
According to Shvetsova, on 2 July she was taken to the Temporary Detention Cell of the Kurganinsky District, where the criminal investigations officers came to her (she does not know their names). They forced her to confess of murder, threatening that in case she refuses her son would be brought to criminal responsibility. On 6 July, during the night, having yielded to pressure, she signed the confession as it was dictated by the police officer. On 18 July, in the presence of his lawyer, Olga informed the investigator about the pressure exerted upon her by the police officers, and she withdrew her confessionary statements.
After the incident, Olga and Valery submitted applications to the Prosecutor’s Office and the territorial Department of Federal Security Service, who, in their turn, readdressed these applications to the Gulkevichsky Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Krasnodar Territory.
On 3 September 2018, investigator of this department Dmitry Kalinchikov issued a ruling refusing to initiate criminal proceedings, considering that the police officers’ actions did not involve any elements of crime.
After the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture appealed against this ruling at the Prosecutor’s Office of the Gulkevichsky District but their appeal was dismissed, they applied to the Territorial Prosecutor’s Office.
Today, human rights defenders received an answer, which states that on 10 September 2019 Deputy Prosecutor of the Krasnodar Territory Andrey Buchman quashed the ruling on dismissal of the criminal case and submitted the materials of the check to the head of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Krasnodar Territory for conducting additional check.
“We will insist that the district prosecutors are brought to responsibility, the ones who previously declared the refusal to open a criminal case to be legal, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Anna Kotsareva comments. – We will also insist that the Krasnodar investigators deal with all the torture complaints at the Gulkevichsky Police Department, since, as we see, nothing but red tape, is happening at the local level”.
As we have previously reported, in July of this year, resident of the Gulkevichsky District Artem Danilov applied to the Committee Against Torture. He informed that on 16 May of this year the investigative officers beat him up, forcing to confess of incurring grave bodily harm to his cohabitant, which led to her death. Investigator of the Investigative Committee Viktor Melnichenko issued two refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, which were later quashed as illegal. At the present time, additional check of the Danilov’s torture complaint is ongoing.
Olga Shvetsova, Valery Malakhov and Artem Danilov are not the only ones who accuse the operational staff of the Gulkevichsky Police Department of tortures.
For example, in March of this year, local resident Nikita Khatskevitch applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. He informed human rights defenders that the investigative officers of the Gulkevichsky Police Department were beating him up, forcing him to confess of a cable theft.
In the course of the report check concerning tortures at the police department of the Krasnodar Territory it turned out that “no recording from outdoor video surveillance cameras to the hard drive was performed due to technical reasons” for almost a month, including on that day, when Nikita Khatskevich was there. Investigator Viktor Melnichenko issued five refusals to initiate criminal proceedings with regard to the law-enforcement officers. Another check is ongoing.