Death in a police department in Orenburg. Accident or murder?


22 November 2011
Today the Orenburg office of INGO “Committee Against Torture” has received an application from the father of Armen Sargasyan who died on November 18, 2011 in the operational investigation unit of the Orenburg Directorate of the Interior.The applicant has reported that that day Armen left home having no injuries and in good spirits. He went to hospital no. 4 together with his friends to visit their common friend before surgery. Around 19.00 the applicant received a call from Armen’s friends who said that at 3 p.m. his son had been unexpectedly detained by the police, placed in a police car and taken to the 2nd operational investigation unit on suspicion of theft.

After that Armen’s father and friends went to the police station but failed to receive any information. Only at 1 a.m. on November 19 an acquaintance called saying that Armen had been taken to morgue. Upon arrival to the morgue, the Armen’s relatives identified his body. There were numerous injuries clearly seen on the body. On the top of the head there was a fresh cross-shaped wound measuring 4-5 cm, its edges were bleeding. A similar, but smaller wound was located at the back of the head.  The doctor told the father that Armen had kidney contusions and numerous bruises on the buttocks. The father said that Armen’s heart had been alright, with no defects.  According to the applicant, Armen was a healthy man going in for sports, jogging and exercising in the morning.

According to the information disseminated by the Public Relations Department of the Orenburg Directorate of the Interior, “during the interrogation …Sargasyan complained of heartache, an ambulance was promptly summoned. Emergency doctors pronounced Armen dead. According to a preliminary assessment, death was caused by acute heart failure.”

For unknown reasons, the forensic medical expert wrote: “Death cause: not precise and not clearly specified”. This statement remains obscure to the relatives.

The Orenburg office of the ICAT was not surprised by that fact. According to Vyacheslav Dyundin, torture allegations most often originate from that police department.  The Committee Against Torture has started a public investigation, and in case it reveals human rights violations, it will do its best to ensure instigation of criminal proceedings and prosecution of those responsible for Armen Sargasyan’s death.

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