The European Court of Human Rights communicated a complaint of Aleksey Averkiev from the Orenburg region, who claims that in 2008 he was beaten up by the police officers because it took him too long to familiarize himself with the materials of the criminal case. The Strasbourg judges posed questions to the Russian Federation on whether the applicant was subjected to torture, as well as whether the investigation of his complaint against the police battery efficient at the national level.
Aleksey Averkiev from Buzuluk of the Orenburg region applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance in January 2009. In his application to human rights defenders he told that on 26 December 2006 he was apprehended by the police officers in his house on suspicion of committing a crime. Later on, he was taken into custody at Pre-Trial Detention Center No.3 of Orenburg, from where he was periodically transported for investigative actions to the Department on Organized Crime for the Orenburg region.
According to Averkiev, on 19 May 2008, when he was once again taken to the Department for Organized Crime Control, he was beaten up by the police officers, allegedly, for the fact that he was familiarizing with the case materials for too long. Upon his return to the Pre-Trial Detention Facility Aleksey was taken for treatment to the medical unit for three days. Medics diagnosed him with: brain concussion, bruise and extravasation of the left lower leg, bruises in the area of the neck and upper lid of the left eye.
Investigative Department under the Prosecutor’s Office of the Orenburg region was checking the Aleksey’s complaint against illegal violence by police officers. Averkiev’s representatives were forced to repeatedly apply to court with complaints against the inaction of the officers of the investigative body, who ignored the motions on familiarization with the materials of the checks.
As a result, for a year neither the applicant, nor his representatives could get access to the materials of the check. For over two years human rights defenders with the Committee Against Torture were trying to prove to the investigators and the prosecutors that the available data was enough to initiate criminal proceedings. But law-enforcement officers were steadfast – “the police officers are not guilty”. The regional court did not quash the fourth refusal to initiate criminal proceedings, thus enabling Averkiev to apply to the European Court of Human Rights – the corresponding complaint was applied by the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture in August 2011.
Yesterday, human rights defenders received a notification from the European Court of Human Rights on communication of complaint in the interests of Aleksey Averkiev.
The Strasbourg judges posed the following questions to the Russian Federation:
– taking into account the bodily injuries, registered on the applicant, whether he was subjected to torture,
– whether the state provided a credible explanation on how the applicant received these bodily injuries,
– whether the authorities conducted an effective investigation based on the applicant’s torture complaint, taking into account the refusal to initiate criminal proceedings and inability of the investigative authorities to perform the full scope of investigative activities in the framework of pre-investigation check.
“The Averkiev case is a typical example when the Russian investigative authorities limit themselves only with pre-investigative check instead of initiating criminal proceedings and conducting a full-fledged investigation based on torture complaint, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments. – The European Court many times passed rulings stating that the authorities’ refusal to initiate criminal proceedings based on complaint against brutal treatment during the stay under police control is a proof of inefficiency of the investigation. Now, within quite a short period of time, the Court will communicate new complaints related to pre-investigative check. At the same time, the ECHR judges do not see it necessary to evaluate the quality of the concrete check, since it’s procedure itself which is inefficient, since in its framework it’s impossible to establish the persons guilty of torture”.