Today we have learnt that on 9 April 2010 criminal proceedings have been started under p.1, art.131 of the RF Criminal Code (“Rape, i.e. sexual intercourse either with application of violence or threat of violence or using the victim’s helpless state”) upon the application of Natalia Stryomina from Arzamas, Nizhny Novgorod region.
The proceedings were instigated against police officer Sergey Bukhanov. According to the investigation authorities, “at night on 25-26 April 2009 he was in the medical detoxification centre under the Arzamas Directorate of the Interior and intentionally raped Natalia Strymina in a natural way against her will using violence and threats”. Right after the incident Ms. Stryomina applied to the Interregional Committee against Torture. Thanks to the efforts of the Committee lawyers and attention of the mass media, the criminal case was opened.
However, it is very strange that in the decision to open a criminal case it is not mentioned that Mr. Bukhanov is a police officer who committed crime acting in his official capacity as state representative.
Natalia perceived him exactly as a state agent, she was totally under his control in the detention facility. Now we can only guess whether the investigator has forgotten to mention that fact by chance or intentionally. Although, in his explanation Mr. Bukhanov stated that in April last year he was a police agent, and at night on 25-26 April 2009 he was on duty in the medical detoxification centre under the Arzamas Directorate of the Interior.
At present an investigation is being conducted under the case. For today the investigator has planned an identification parade and a face-to-face confrontation between Bukhanov and the victim.
According to the victim, Bukhanov no longer works in the police. Lawyers of the Committee against Torture will continue helping the victim in the context of the coming trial.