Bashkirian court handed down a suspended sentence to a policeman for beating a woman

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18 July 2013

Today, on 18 July 2013 the Higher Court of the Bashkortostan Repblic delivered an appellate decision in the case against police captain Azat Shunkarov. The Higher Court upheld the ruling of the court of the first instance that gave the officer three year and six month suspended sentence. In addition, the Higher Court held that the convicted must be prohibited to hold those offices in the civil service that imply representing public authorities.

(Photo: Veronika Rozkulieva)

As we have previously reported, in the summer of 2010 Veronika Rozkulieva applied to the Bashkortostan regional branch of the INGO “Committee Against Torture” seeking legal assistance. She claimed that in February 2010 she was beaten up in the Alshaevskiy Department of the Interior. According to the applicant, police captain Azat Shunkarov attempted to make her responsible for theft of a cell phone belonging to the chief of the cafe she worked for as a waitress. The woman rejected any involvement in the crime. She stated that the policeman inflicted her numerous blows to the head and body with his hands and a truncheon. Medical examinations observed such injuries as acute closed craniocerebral injury, brain concussion, and numerous bruises on various parts of her body.

It must be noted that in a month after the aggressive interrogation the police discovered that the missing cell phone had been taken by another person.

On 29 March 2010 the Belebeevsk Interdistrict Investigating Department of the Investigative Committee for the Bashkortostan Republic instituted criminal proceedings concerning the battery of the young woman on the grounds of evidence of a crime under Article 286 (3) (a) of the Criminal Code of Russia (exceeding official powers with the use of violence). On 18 May 2011 the case was brought to trial before the Alshaevskiy District Court of the Bashkortostan Republic. The case was pending before the court for almost two years.

On 13 March 2013 the trial was at last over, and the parties submitted their closing arguments. The prosecutor requested 4 years in prison for the accused, who pleaded not guilty and asked for acquittal.

On March 21  the Alshaevskiy District Court of the Bashkortostan Republic found Azat Shunkarov guilty under Article 286 (3) (a) CC RF (exceeding official powers with the use of violence) and sentenced the policeman to 1 year of probation with a 3 year and 6 months suspended sentence, and to prohibition to hold offices in the civil service for the term of 1 year and 6 months.

The accused and his lawyer considered the punishment too severe and appealed against it. In the course of today’s hearing the Higher Court of the Republic, having examined the parties’ submissions, found the sentence to be well-founded, lawful and just. Yet, the first instance court judgment was not specific enough concerning the prohibition to hold offices in the civil service. Thus, the Higher Court specified that the convicted must be prohibited to hold those offices in the civil service that imply representing public authorities.

A lawyer with the Bashkortostan regional branch of the Committee representing the victim’s interests, Dmitriy Solodkiy, comments on the judgment as follows: “The victim is satisfied with the appellate decision, she from the very beginning did not want a sentence of actual imprisonment for the police officer. As for Mr. Shunkarov, today he again pleaded not guilty. In the nearest future we will file claim for compensation of moral damage. We will also demand official apology to Veronika Rozkulieva from the superiors of the Ministry of the Interior of Bashkortostan”.