Applying violence against the Moscow protesters this summer will not be investigated


18 December 2019

The Investigative Committee will not investigate the complaints of the participants of the summer protests in Moscow, who reported applying illegal physical violence against them by the police and Federal National Guard Troops Service (Rosgvardiya) officers. At first, the Investigative Committee dismissed their request to perform an investigation, having forwarded their complaints to the police and Rosgvardiya – subsequently, these rulings have been declared legal by the courts of two instances. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, representing the interests of the victims, intend to apply to the European Court of Human Rights.

As we have previously reported, five citizens applied to the Committee Against Torture reporting illegal violence by law-enforcement officers during the public events in Moscow in summer 2019. Aleksandr Glushak reported that on 27 July a Rosgvardiya officer hit him with electric shocker and a truncheon in Kamergersky Pereulok. Nikolay Andreichev reported that on the same day the police officers beat him up at Strastnoy Bulevard breaking his arm. Three more citizens reported illegal police violence on 3 August: Mikhail Fayto informed that he was beaten up by the police officers during his transportation to the Department of the Interior for the Pechatniki District of Moscow, Aleksandr Svidersky informed that he was beaten up by the police officers during apprehension at the Trubnaya Square, and later on – in the police van, as well, and Petr Khromov told about his illegal apprehension and the fact that the police officers applied submission holds against him at the Trubnaya Square, as well.

On 21 August 2019, the crime reports were submitted to the Investigative Committee of Russia based on all the five complaints. However, pre-investigative checks were not performed on any of these reports. Despite the requirements of the law and departmental instructions, the officers of the Investigative Committee central office registered all the crime reports as the citizens’ applications (for which no pre-investigative check is required) and submitted them to the inferior authority – Chief Investigative Directorate for Moscow. From there they were forwarded to other agencies: to the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for Moscow and to the Department of Internal Security of Rosgvardiya for Moscow, i.e., to the same agencies, the officers of which were accused by the applicants of committing crimes.

Most often the precise dates when the crime reports were forwarded are not known either to the applicants themselves or to their representatives – none of them were notified, and the necessity to learn the whereabouts of the submitted application was a separate challenge for the lawyers. As a result, quite predictably, neither police nor Rosgvardiya did not detect any violations in their officers’ actions.

On 4 October 2019, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted five applications to the Presnensky District Court of Moscow concerning the illegal forwarding of crime reports from the Investigative Committee to the police and Rosgvardiya. On 9 October 2019, the court refused to accept the applications for proceedings, deeming that the applicants are trying to appeal against the rulings of an executive official whose authority is not connected with performing the criminal prosecution. These court rulings were appealed against at the appellate instance, however, on 16 December 2019, the Moscow City Court dismissed the applications.

“We are not giving up and we already developed a plan to appeal against the illegal inaction of the Investigative Committee at the national level, – head of the Moscow branch of the Committee Against Torture Anastasia Garina comments on the court ruling. – But, together with that, we will have to submit applications to the European Court of Human Rights. We think that Russian law-enforcement agencies have already demonstrated their reluctance to investigate the cases on violence applied against the participants of the summer protests and without independent international evaluation they would hardly change their opinion”.

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