Defendant, a former Penitentiary Service officer, asked to take him to psychiatrists


14 February 2018

In the Sovetsky District Court of Orsk in the Orenburg region a judicial examination of the criminal case with regard to former head of local Pre-Trial Detention Center No.2 Evgeny Schnaider and former superior of the operational department of this establishment Vitaly Simonenko is completed. They are charged with abuse of office using violence against three convicts, one of them subsequently died. Yesterday, to the surprise of the participants of the judicial examination, defense lawyer of defendant Simonenko filed a motion to have his client a psychologically and psychiatrically examined.

Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Vyacheslav Dyundin, representing the interests of the mother of the deceased at court, comments in the progress of the trial:

(Vyacheslav Dyundin)

“Yesterday two witnesses were questioned, whom defendant Simonenko insisted on questioning. All of them are the detention facility officers and were on duty on the day the crime was committed. The questioning of all the witnesses took only one hour and the same pattern was used:
– Have you seen…?

– No, I have not seen…

– Have you heard…?

– No, I have not heard…

Such witnesses can be hardly called defense witnesses, since none of them provided the court with any data confirming non-involvement of any of the defendants in the committed crime.

In addition, during the last hearing something unusual happened. Lawyer Sergey Ivlev, having consulted with his client Vitaly Simonenko, filed a motion to have his client a psychologically and psychiatrically examined.

According to the lawyer, this examination should reveal whether his client has “increased animosity, aggressiveness, proneness to attack, excitability, suggestibility; whether he is mentally fit and whether he suffers any psychic illnesses or deviations; whether he has personal peculiarities which have impact on his behavior in situations of increased danger; what psychological peculiarities influenced Simonenko’s behavior in the situation and under circumstances described by the investigation”. The defense lawyer asked to assign the regional psychiatric hospital of Orsk to conduct the expert examination. However, the defendant Vitaly Simonenko will have to postpone his meeting with the psychiatrists, because the court dismissed this motion.

In its dismissal of the motion the court, among other things, pointed out that Mr Simonenko and his defense lawyer provided the court with a sufficient amount of characteristic material, which leaves no doubts in mental fitness of the defendant. I think that the court’s stance is well-grounded. I can only add that the materials of the criminal case establish that Simonenko had several fire arms, which was stored legally, and this presupposes the fact that his mental state was checked by the state. I presume that this motion could be aimed at prolonging the period of judicial examination, and, secondly, simulating the presence of some psychiatric condition.

At the present time, the judicial examination is over. The court announced a long break for preparing the discussion. The next court hearing is scheduled for 27 February. Start at 11 a.m”.

As we have previously reported, mother of convicted Vladimir Tkachuk Nadezhda Chertovskikh applied to interregional non-governmental organization «Committee Against Torture» for legal assistance in September 2013. She informed human rights defenders that on 5 September she received a call from an unknown person who told her that her son had been beaten to death by the officers of Pre-Trial Detention Facility No.2 in Orsk, Orenburg region, where Tkachuk was seconded from Penal-Colony No 11 to serve his sentence as a household worker.

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