On 5 August 2021, it has become known that the Investigative Committee brought charges against the three men who, according to the version of the investigative authorities, were torturing six residents of Orenburg in 2010. In 2020, the period of limitations for bringing to criminal responsivity expired. It means that each of the defendants has a right to put forward a motion for dismissal of the criminal prosecution against him. This right was used by the fourth former police officer, who was involved in the case. He asked to stop the criminal prosecution against him.
As we have previously reported, on 28 May 2010, residents of Orenburg Yury Zontov, Svetlana Gumerova, Larisa Pikalova and tree acquaintances of theirs (the latter did not apply to the Committee Against Torture) were apprehended on suspicion of committing a series of thefts and taken to the operations and search division No.1 with the Criminal Investigations of the Ministry of the Interior. According to the applicants, they were beaten up there, being forced to sign a confession, which they did, having yielded to violence.
Yury Zontov was registered with: “hematoma of the chest tissues on the right, which could have been produced by a traumatic impact of a solid blunt object”. Apart from hematomas and bruises, experts also put down that Gumerova had “a section of the skin without hair, in the hairy part of the head”. Pikalova had bruises, extravasations, closed craniocerebral injury, brain concussion. According to the medical forensic experts, the revealed bodily injuries might be generated in the period of time, corresponding to the circumstances of the case.
Subsequently, the criminal prosecution of the six residents of Orenburg was dismissed due to their non-involvement in the crime, despite the confessions obtained by the police officers. The victims applied to the Investigative Committee with regard to the fact of tortures, however, on 22 November 2010, investigator Nadezhda Vorobeykina issued a dismissal of a claim to open a criminal case.
Only 9 years later Yury Zontov applied to the Committee Against Torture. Half a year after his application, human rights defenders, with the help of the Prosecutor’s Office ensured that the investigation was resumed, and then, two other victims, Larisa Pikalova and Svetlana Gumerova, also applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to the residents of Orenburg, in 2010 they were so intimidated and completely lost the faith in justice, that for many years they did not have a heart to appeal against the investigator’s ruling.
“We learned about the episode with the battery of Yury Zontolv and his acquaintances in the framework of the investigation of a criminal case on another police battery that he was subjected to in 2011, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin comments. – Zontov said that both times he was beaten up by the same police officers. Having studied the materials of the check conducted by investigator Vorobeykina, we appealed against her ruling, dismissing the claim to open a criminal case”.
After the check was resumed, investigator with the Investigative Department for the Southern Administrative District of Orenburg of the Investigative Committee of the RF Arman Izbasov was reusing to open a criminal case for over half a year, having issued three refusals. As a result, on 28 July 2020, in the end he opened the criminal case based on the fact of abuse of office with the use of violence and special equipment. The case was transferred for examination to the 1 st Department for Major Cases with the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region.
On 5 August, the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture became aware that investigator Azamat Zhamansariyev brought charges against acting police officer Ivan Kudinov, as well as against former police officers Denis Fedorov and Sergey Kornilov. The investigator accused all three of them of committing a crime under items “a” and “b”
of Part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (abuse of office using violence and special equipment). There is the fourth participant in the case – previously convicted former police officer Eduard Makayev. The criminal prosecution against him was dismissed due to the expiry of the period of limitations, based on his
motion. Other persons involved in the case do not agree with the charges and insist on their non-involvement in the battery of the applicants.
“Despite the fact that over 11 years passed after the crime was committed, the investigative body is insistently investigating this criminal case, and, in the end, the defendants appeared, – lawyer with the Committee Timur Rakhmatulin comments. – It will no longer be possible to bring anyone to criminal responsibility, however, the mere fact of establishing the persons involved in the crime will allow, firstly, preventing them from working in law-enforcement. Secondly, the victims will have an opportunity to collect from the state a compensation for moral damage inflicted by tortures performed by specific law-enforcement officers”.