After seven years, a criminal case on police torture is opened in Nizhny Novgorod


21 February 2019
Aleksandr Semenov

A criminal case based on the fact of torture of local citizen Aleksandr Semenov at the police department of the Avtozavodsky District in 2011 is opened in Nizhny Novgorod. In the period of pre-investigative check the investigators five times illegally refused to initiate criminal proceedings and managed to lose the forensic medical expert conclusion, in which the victim’s bodily injuries were recorded.

On 24 May 2011, Ekaterina Semenova applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance, who told that her husband Aleksandr was beaten up by the officers of the police department No.1 of the Avtozavodsky District.

Later on, Aleksandr applied to human rights defenders himself, who described the details of what happened. According to him, on 19 May 2011, three men came to his place (one of them showed the police officer’s ID) and asked him to come with them to the police department.

“There I was taken to the third floor, made me sit on the chair and handcuffed me. The police officers told me I should confessed of murder. I responded that I never killed anyone, after that they started to beat me up, hitting my head”, – Semenov remembers.

According to Aleksandr, after the battery, the police officers applied a “swallow” torture (the man’s feet and hands are tied or handcuffed behind his back, in such state the man can be hanged, he can be beaten up or just keep in this position until he agrees to do and say what is required from him – comment from the author), and left him to “have a thought” for 20 minutes.

According to Aleksandr, despite strong pain, he still refused to confess of murder, after that he was beaten up again and a new torture was applied: “The police officer put a plastic bag over my head, blocking air access. Holding his hand hear my mouth and nose, he told me to move my head when I want to say something”.

Semenov said, that one of the police officers gave him electrical shock at his fingers, and this execution was alternately followed by applying “swallow”.

“After that I was taken to hospital for examination, and there, in fear of continuation of tortures I told the medics that I got bodily injuries falling from the truck. When I was taken back to the police department and started to be tortured again, because I refused to confess of murder, I confessed that during a conflict I beat up one of my subordinates”, – Aleksandr recounted.

After full confession was formalized, on 20 May 2011 the court imposed a pre-trial restraint to Aleksandr in the form of house arrest. Later on Semenov was sentenced to two years of conditional term for the battery of his subordinate.

On 20 May 2011, Ekaterina Semenova applied to the Investigative Department for the Avtozavodsky District of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region with a crime report. During the pre-investigative check the investigators issued five refusals to initiate criminal proceedings – all of them were subsequently quashed as illegal.

During familiarization with the materials of the check based on Ekaterina Semenova’s complaint against her husband’s tortures, human rights defenders managed to establish that one of the crucial pieces of evidence in the case was lost – namely, the original of the forensic medical expert findings No. 3418-D, where Aleksandr’s injuries were described.
According to the act of forensic medical examination, Semenov was registered with nineteen bruises on various parts of the body, scratches on his head and hand, which, according to the expert’s opinion, may have emerged on 20 May 2011.

“All the refusals to initiate criminal proceedings were issued by the investigators without taking into account the findings of the forensic medical expert, which simply disappeared from the materials of the check, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Pavel Osadcnhiy says. – Only after our appeals to the management of the regional investigative this findings were found, however, even after this the investigators kept “forgetting” to take it into account when passing another refusals to initiate a “torture case”.

According to Osadchiy, at the regional investigative department it is acknowledged that the findings of the forensic medical expert were lost, however, “it did not appear possible” to bring anyone to responsibility for this, the reason being that too much time passed since this document was lost, as well as due to the fact that many investigators no longer work at this organization.

Yesterday, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received an answer from Deputy Head of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region Mr Oleynik, which establishes that on 11 December 2018 the Investigative Department for the Avtozavodsky District of Nizhny Novgorod opened a criminal case with regard to element of crime under item “a” Part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence”).

“I hope that after initiating a criminal case based on the fact of Aleksandr Semenov’ tortures, the investigation will be effective and we won’t have any more claims and complaints, – Pavel Osadshiy comments.

– We will be taking part in this case in the capacity of the victim representatives and will render all the necessary support to the investigation to expose and bring to responsibility the police officers who were torturing Aleksandr”.

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