Criminal case into abuse of office against local citizen Aram Gambaryan is opened in Krasnodar. As we have previously reported, Aram Gambaryan claims that on 21 March 2017 several armed masked men grabbed him out of his car right in the center of the city, shouting “FSB is working!”, after that they brought him to the forest, where they tortured him for six hours, forcing that confessed of an attempt of murder of a local entrepreneur.
On 30 May 2017, Aram Gambaryan applied to the Krasnodar branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. He reported that on 21 March of this year at about 10 a.m. his car was blocked in the busy street by two other vehicles, out of which several armed masked men rushed out shouting “FSB is working!”, grabbed him out of his car, handcuffed him and put him in their mini-van.
– In the mini-van they put a knitted cap or a bag on my head and started to beat me up all over. In response to my questions on who are they and what they want these people answered that they were FSB and Moscow Criminal Police officers, – Aram remembered.
According to Mr Gambaryan, in about fifty minutes he was taken to the woods where the battery continued: “I was thrown on my back and they started to kick at all the parts of my body, specifically targeting the area of thighs and knees, as well as the right shoulder. They took my pants and underwear off me. A man sat on my chest and started to question me. He was very heavy and I had troubles to breath under his weight. Besides, they were continuously pouring water on my face, which made me gasp and gave trouble speaking”.
According to Aram, he was also beaten up by electric shocker in the genital area, armpits, under his jaw, he was threatened with murder – they even threw him in the pit and started to put soil over him; several times they brought the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger, after that they shot at his ear. According to his feeling, tortures lasted for about six hours – all this time the torturers demanded that he confessed of an attempt of murder of a local entrepreneur.
Aram explained to human rights defenders that after the tortures he was taken to the Investigative Committee, where he was forced to sign the record of interrogation with the “required” explanations, which he agreed to provide to his torturers in the woods.
According to Gambaryan, he spent the night at one of the Krasnodar police departments, and on the next day the Seversky District Court of the Krasnodar Territory declared him guilty of administrative crime – allegedly, on 22 March Aram was “in the public place in the presence of citizens and groundlessly used curse words and strong language”. He was imposed a punishment in the form of ten days of administrative arrest.
At first Aram was kept under administrative arrest first in the Temporary Detention Facility of the Department of the Ministry of the Interior of the Seversky District, and then he was moved to the detention room of the administratively arrested of the Ust-Labinsky District. During this time, emergency ambulance was called three times due to Gambaryan’s feeling unwell: according to him, during his arrest he practically did not eat, did not drink and was constantly vomiting and felt sharp pain in the stomach.
In the log of the medical examinations of the persons, kept in the Temporary Detention Facility of the of the Department of the Ministry of the Interior of the Seversky District there is a record in which it is indicated that on 25 March, after the emergency ambulance medics examined Gambaryan, they diagnosed him with: “closed craniocerebral injury, brain concussion, concussion of chest, lumbar region and the left thigh”.
On 1 April Aram’s father took him from the detention room in Ust-Labinsk and took him to Krasnodar. On that day, Aram was transported in grave condition by the medical emergency team to Krasnodar Regional Hospital No.1. During the admission, the doctors diagnosed him with: “acute renal insufficiency, acute interstitial (post-traumatic) nephritis, complicated by acute kidneys damage of 3 degree, mild brain concussion, multiple contusions, bruises of the body, massive hemorrhaging of lower limbs”. Aram was taken to intensive care unit for hemodialysis.
Back in the morning of 22 March Gambaryan’s wife applied to the police and reported her husband’s missing. Afterwards this application was handed over to the Investigative Department on the Karasunsky District of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Krasnodar Territory.
Later on, the investigators of various departments of the Territorial Investigative Department initiated pre-investigation checks concerning other circumstances, as well: the fact of falsifying the materials of administrative offense, allegedly committed by Gambaryan, and the fact of illegal actions of the police officers during his apprehension.
For twelve months the investigators have eight times refused to initiate criminal proceedings based on Gambaryan’s torture complaint. For a long time the investigators have been giving preference to the version of the police officers, according to which in the morning of 21 March Aram was not abducted, but, as per order of the investigator of the Investigative Committee, was located and taken to him for questioning as a witness. At the Investigative Department, for some reason, Gambaryan spent the whole day till evening, after that he was examined for bodily injuries (also for some strange reason) with participation of a forensic medical expert, no injuries were found. Then the investigator questioned Gambaryan in the capacity of a witness and let him go. In the morning of the next day Aram was walking in the street, violating the public order, and was apprehended by the police officers.
Checking of other circumstances did not lead to initiating criminal proceedings, either.
In December 2017, the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, representing the interests of Aram Gambaryan, applied to head of the Territorial Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee Vadim Bugaenko with a request to join all the checks on “the Gambaryan case” in one procedure. In addition, in their application, the human rights defenders pointed out the red tape of the investigators during conducting pre-investigation checks. Last year these facts were detected at the Prosecutor’s Office, as well – the supervisory authority officers, at least twice submitted orders to eliminate violations of the federal law during conducting checks, addressed to the superiors of the Territorial Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee.
In February of this year, the materials of all the three checks on “the Gambaryan case” are handed over to the second department for major cases investigation of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Krasnodar Territory. The checking will be conducted by investigator Dmitry Balin.
In the course of this check investigator Balin questioned Aram Gambaryan, as well as joined the materials of all the three checks in one procedure. After that the work on the Gambaryan case was again assigned to investigators of the Investigative Department for the Karasunsky District.
On 10 April investigator Vladimir Sorokin opened a criminal case into elements of crime under item “a” of Part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence”). In the course of today’s interrogation Aram Gambaryan was declared a victim, and lawyers with the Committee Against Torture are allowed in the case in the capacity of his representatives.
“We are satisfied that the criminal case is at last opened, even only into one episode and after a year, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Roman Veretennikov, representing the interests of Aram Gambaryan, comments. – In the nearest future we will submit a number of motions to the investigator on the necessity of performing the investigative activities which are required to identify the whole picture of what was happening to our applicant on 21 March of last year”.