In Nizhny Novgorod the five-year old case on torture of a local resident is suspended. As we have previously reported, three former police officers are suspected of forcing Leonid Mursky to confess of selling drugs. As the Investigative Committee informed lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, suspending of the criminal case is a forced measure, since the investigators are not coping with the work scope during the coronavirus pandemic, and, in addition, the victim had some flu symptoms.
As we have previously reported, on 19 March 2015, Leonid Mursky from Nizhny Novgorod applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. He told human rights defenders that in the evening of 17 March he was apprehended near the door of his house and taken to police department No.7, where the police officers started to extort from him the confession of sale of drugs.
“In the room I sat on a chair, immediately after that I received a blow in the face from a police officer. He added: “Such scum as you should sit on the floor, you haven’t earned the right to sit on a chair yet”, – Leonid recalls.
According to Mursky, several police officers were involved in his battery – they beat him with feet and hands, threatened to take him to the rowing canal and drown him there.
“I was already all in blood, and I perceived these threats to take me to the rowing canal as a direct threat to my life, that is why I wrote a full confession as dictated by a police officer. They also forced me to write the details of narcotic substances manufacturing process”, – Mursky described.
Subsequently, Leonid was convicted to four and a half years under part 3 of Article 30, item “g” of part 4 of Article 228.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Illegal manufacture and sales of psychotropic substances performed by a group of persons by previous concert, on a large scale, on condition that the crime was not completed due to circumstances which do not depend on this person”).
Leonid was released from police with travel restrictions, and on the same day he applied to the first aid station, where he was registered with: “Bruises and scratches of the forehead, suspected non-displaced fracture of 6th-7th odontoid vertebras”.
Later on, the following conclusions were made based on the results of medical forensic expert examination: “L.G.Mursky had a closed craniocerebral injury: brain concussion, extravasations and scratches on the face, forehead, hemorrhaging in the soft tissues (hematoma) of the occipital region. The injuries included in the complex of a craniocerebral injury, are characteristic of a blunt trauma, i.e., they were generated with a blunt object, by the way of impact, compression, friction. This injury should be treated as the one which inflicted mild health damage. The possibility of the generation of injuries on L.G.Mursky within the timeline and under the circumstances described by him in the explanation dated 23.06.2015, is not excluded”.
Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied on behalf with Leonid Mursky with a crime report to the Investigative Committee as well as to the Department of Internal Security of the Ministry of the Interior.
During the pre-investigative check the investigators issued six refusals to initiate criminal proceedings with regard to the Mursky’s torture complaint. Human rights defenders successively appealed against these rulings, however, the last refusal was declared legal by the courts of two instances.
With regard to this, on 5 April 2017, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Leonid Mursky. According to human rights defenders, the articles of the European Convention, prohibiting tortures and guaranteeing effective investigation, were violated with regard to him.
On 22 May 2019, the criminal case with regard to unidentified police officers’ committing a crime against Leonid Mursky under item ‘a’ of part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, was opened, in the end (“abuse of office using violence”).
On 22 October, investigator of the Investigative Department for the Kanavinsky District of Nizhny Novgorod of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region Stanislav Kvitchenko apprehended former Deputy Head of the 6th Department of the Criminal Investigations of Chief Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for the Nizhny Novgorod region Sergey Lebedev, former head of the department for crimes related to illegal drug trafficking of the Criminal Investigations of the Department of the Interior of Russia for Bor town Nikolay Atamashko, former head of the interregional department No. 3 (located in Bor town) of the 6th department of the Criminal Investigations of the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for the Nizhny Novgorod region Aleksey Khrulev on suspicion of perpetrating a crime under item “a” of part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence”).
At the present time, former police officers Sergey Lebedev, Nikolay Atamashko and Aleksey Khrulev, suspected of forcing Leonid Mursky to confess of selling drugs, are under travel restrictions.
Today, investigator with the Investigative Department for the Kanavinsky District of Nizhny Novgorod of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region Stanislav Kvitchenko informed lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin that the investigation of the criminal case on torture was suspended on 21 April of this year.
“According to investigator Kvitchenko, one of the reasons for the investigation suspending was the fact that the victim, with the help of whom he planned to perform investigative activities, had symptoms of flu. Another reason was that at the present time only two investigators are working at the investigative department of the Kanavinsky District, who have to deal with all cases. Alas, in such circumstances any effective work on the case is totally out of the question. I think that in many other investigative departments of the Nizhny Novgorod region the situation is the same, if not worse, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin comments. – According to the investigator, the case will be resumed as soon as the high alert mode is lifted”.