Today, on 6 September 2018, the Nizhegorodsky Regional Court quashed the judgment of conviction with regard to former police officer of police department No.7 Pavel Bersenev who was previously declared guilty of abuse of office and sentenced to four years of conditional term. The case will be once again examined at the Sovetsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod, but with a different judge.
As we have previously reported, Elena Petrova from Nizhny Novgorod (the name and surname are changed) applied to the human rights defenders asking for legal assistance. She reported that she had been violently detained in Nizhny Novgorod karaoke-café and taken to police department No.7 of the Department of the Interior for Nizhny Novgorod. There, according to her words, one of the policemen shouted at her during the conversation, hit her in the face with his hand and pushed her to the wall.
In her explanation to the human rights defenders Elena reported that at night on 2 April 2017 she was having a rest with friends at the karaoke-cafe. At some moment, there began a fight among a young man from her company and some other guests on the dance-floor. Those present there tried to stop the fight and some later the policemen arrived to the cafe.
According to Elena’s words, the policemen came to her purposefully and ordered her to come with them to the police department. She asked the policemen to explain to her the reason of their request, but they used physical strength and put her arms behind her back and handcuffed her. Due to that Elena suffered from severe physical pain (later the surgeon diagnosed “shoulder joints sprain”).
Petrova was taken to Police Department No. 7.
According to Elena, in the department she was given some explanations to sign but they did not let her read them. After the detained person refused to sign the papers several times, the policeman quite abruptly changed the tone of the conversation into very aggressive one and said: “If you do not sign it now, I’ll give you some beating!”
– I said that I was not going to sign anything anyway. Immediately after that the policeman hit my face with the sharp of his hand, – remembers Petrova.
In the end, Elena signed the document without reading it. After that she was released and left the police department at about half past four in the morning. On the same day, she came to the trauma center of city hospital No. 34, and on the next day she went to the surgeon at the place of her residence. As a result, the doctor diagnosed that the victim had: “Soft tissue bruise on the face, and on the right and left forearms. Right and left shoulder joints sprain”.
On 10 April 2017 investigator from the investigating department of the Investigation Office of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation in Nizhny Novgorod region, Major of Justice Izverov initiated a criminal case against the police officer according to p. «а» Part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“Abuse of office with the use of violence”).
Preliminary investigation took about two months, and after the Prosecutor’s Office approved the indictment, on 2 June 2017 it was sent to the Sovetsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod.
In the course of discussions State Prosecutor Larisa Pashina deemed that the guilt of the defendant in the charged crime is proven and asked the court to sentence Pavel Bersenev to 4 years of conditional term.
Pavel Bersenev did not acknowledge his guilt in the incriminated crime. The defendant explained that the cause of the incident lied in conflict at work with his superiors, who had been threatening to frame him for a long time. In addition, he explained that he himself suffered from the actions of the victim and was forced to defend himself.
On 4 May of this year, judge of the Sovetsky Dictrict Court of Nizhny Novgorod Ivan Karnavsky passed a judgment of conviction with regard to former police officer. The court sentenced Pavel Bersenev to four years of conditional term.
The convict has not agreed with the verdict and appealed against it at the Nizhegorodsky Regional Court.
In the course of today’s court hearing, the State Prosecutor asked the court to return the criminal case for examination to the court of the first instance due to the fact that the indictment did not have the appropriate description of the crime which Bersenev is accused of, as well as to the fact that, in the opinion of the State Prosecutor, it was not proven that part of the bodily injuries of the victim developed due to illegal actions of the former police officer.
The court passed a ruling – to quash the judgment of conviction with regard to Pavel Bersenev and to submit the criminal case for new examination to the other judge in the Sovetsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod.
“Now only the substantive provisions of the ruling has been announced and we cannot say what was the cause of the Regional Court’s quashing the ruling of the first instance court. After we receive the full text of today’s court ruling, we will make a decision whether to appeal against it, or not”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Vladimir Smirnov, representing the interests of the victim, comments.