Atrocious tortures in SIZO-1: the police tried to obtain confessions from four Nizhny Novgorod citizens


17 February 2009

 For two months the remand prison staff had tortured four young Nizhny Novgorod citizens in order to make them confess to a rape. However, the Sormovskiy district court of Nizhny Novgorod did not take the cue from the police and found the young men innocent on all charges and fully acquitted them.

At present the young men, supported by the Interregional Committee against Torture, are trying to start criminal proceedings against the remand prison staff who had tortured them for four months in order to obtain confessional statements from them. Yesterday judge Maria Lazareva from the Sovietskiy district court found another refusal to open a criminal case unlawful and obliged the investigation department to eliminate the defects.

The Interregional Committee against Torture is conducting a public investigation under the application of Alexander Zhiltsov, Dmitriy Polyashov, Maksim Snegov and Sergey Moslov from the Voskresenskiy district of Nizhny Novgorod region.

They claim that they were detained in December 2006 in Nizhny Novgorod on suspicion of a grave crime. Despite the fact that the young man had alibis, the police did not release them. According to the applicants, having conducted an interrogation and medical examinations, operational staff of the Sormovskiy district Directorate of the Interior  battered them in presence of an investigator. After long-lasting tortures the young men wrote an acknowledgment of guilt at the dictation of the police officers.

After detention the young men were placed in custody. In the remand prison cell the beatings continued, this time they were battered by their cell-mates, also pre-trial detainees, apparently acting at the direction of the remand prison administration. The cell-mates demanded that the young men should confess to crimes committed in the Voskresenkiy district. Under pressure they finally agreed to do so. Later it turned out that the real perpetrator had been detained some time after that.  

On 16 February 2007 the four men were placed in single cells. From that moment they were left alone.

Meanwhile, the criminal case against the applicants was passed to court. On 14 January 2008 when the young men were taken to the remand prison after another hearing, they were battered by a remand prison official for no reason. On 16 January 2008 in the courtroom they mentioned that fact. An ambulance was called, doctors documented their injuries. The Sovietskiy district investigation department checked that incident. However, the investigators did not find any grounds to open criminal proceedings saying that it was not clear how people being under state’s control round the clock could get injuries similar to blow marks. During 2008 the Sovietskiy district investigation department issued 11 refusals to open criminal proceedings. Following lawyers’ appeals, all of them were cancelled as unlawful and the materials were submitted for an additional check. Thus, by leaps and bounds investigators of the Sovietskiy district are catching up with their colleagues who had investigated Mikheyev’s case trying to hit their “record” (26 unlawful refusals to instigate a criminal case under Mikheyev’s case). Though the court constantly pointed to the incomplete character of the checks, the Sovietskiy district Investigation Department of the Investigation Committee under the RF Prosecutor’s office for Nizhny Novgorod region continued issuing unlawful refusals without eliminating the defects that had led to their cancellation.   

On 30 April 2008 Polyashov, Snegov, Moslov and Zhiltsov were found innocent and fully acquitted.

The notorious “ping-pong” of Nizhny Novgorod investigation bodies – issuing and canceling unlawful refusals for many months – is going on. However, there is still hope that it will not end up with an application to the European Court of Human Rights, and this quite simple case will be solved on the domestic level.   


Of the Committee against Torture

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