Dismissal of the criminal case with regard to tortures of four residents of Anapa is declared illegal


15 July 2019

The ruling of the investigator who dismissed the torture case in Anapa in March of this year is declared illegal and is quashed. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture were notified about this in the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the North Caucasus Federal District. Human rights defenders managed to successfully insist on quashing the dismissal of the criminal case only after they applied to the Central office of the Investigative Committee of Russia.

As we have previously reported, in May 2017, Artem Ponomarchuk, Aram Arustamyan, Karen and Erik Engoyan, citizens from Anapa, applied to human rights defenders for legal assistance. The men reported that they were apprehended at various time in the period from 24-25 December 2015 – allegedly, all four of them refused to show their IDs. Later on, the protocols on administrative violation were drawn up with regard to all the apprehended persons, and on 26 December judge of the Anapa City Court Elena Kravtsova convicted everyone to 12 days of administrative arrest.

– Right after I was delivered to the police department the battery started, and then they started to apply electricity to my hands, and when I refused to confess of armed assault they put a stick in my rectum, – Artem Ponomarchuk describes.

Karen Engoyan tells about similar tortures: “The police officers handcuffed me, put me face down on the floor, put on the gas mask on me, periodically blocking the air access. They beat me at my heels, applied electric contacts to my hands, feet, buttocks, demanding that I confessed of armed assault. When I fainted, they dripped some liquid in my gas mask which made me regain consciousness. The police officers threatened me with a sexual violence with the use of an object looking like a stick. After that I yielded and signed the confession”.

Aram Arustamyan and Erik Engoyan provided similar explanations. As a result, all the apprehended persons confessed of armed assault.

Local forensic expert Emanuil Kopp registered various bodily injuries on all the four apprehended, including injuries on the bodies of Karen Engoyan and Artem Ponomarchuk, “which possibly became the result of the electricity impact”.

The Investigative Committee, which authority involves investigation of criminal cases with regard to the police officers, had not opened the criminal case based on the fact of torture for almost two years. Only in November 2017, after the victims’ relatives together with lawyers with the Committee Against Torture had a personal appointment with a Deputy Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia Boris Karnaukhov, and complained against the red tape of local investigators, the criminal case was opened.

Investigation of the case was assigned to another investigator, four applicants were declared victims, and lawyers with the Committee Against Torture were accepted in the case as their representatives.

For fifteen months of the investigation not a single suspect appeared in the case, and the work of the investigators since the start of the tortures complaints’ check have repeatedly declared inefficient by the Prosecutor’s Office and the superior instances of the Investigative Committee.

On 23 February 2019, the investigation of the criminal case was suspended and on 1 March it was dismissed altogether due to absence of the element of crime.

By passing such a ruling, investigator Stain treated the evidence of the victims and some witnesses, as well as the results of Emmanuil Kopp’s medical forensic examination critically, since, according to the investigator, all of these people were interested parties.

Today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received a notification that the dismissal of the criminal case is declared illegal and is quashed.

“The territorial Prosecutor’s Office and the regional Investigative Committee did not consider that the criminal case dismissal was illegal, that is why we had to apply to the Central office of the Investigative Committee of Russia, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Roman Veretennikov comments, – To our complaint we attached about sixty copies of the documents confirming that the data which the investigator was basing on while dismissing the case is not well-grounded, to put it mildly. For example, the investigator is referring to the fact that the witnesses change the evidence, dismissing the information which they provided previously. We are not excluding that some pressure might have been exerted upon them by the police officers, that is why we will insist that the investigator examines the causes of the witnesses’ evidence changes. We are also intending to pose a question to the Investigative Department superiors why the illegality of the ruling dismissing the criminal case was not revealed at the local level”.

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