Tomorrow, on 31 March 2015, the Sovetsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod is going to start a new hearing of the criminal case against two former police officers with Nizhny Novgorod Police Department no. 7, Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov, charged under Article «exceeding official powers with use of violence and special equipment». As we have previously reported they had been already found guilty in January 2014, however, on 4 March 2015 the verdict was quashed and the case was remanded for retrial. The two persons involved in the case were released in the courtroom and their pre-trial restraint was limited to home detention.
(Vadim Volkov and Aleksey Sokolov)
We would like to remind you of the circumstances of the case in examination.
On 6 March 2011 Aleksandr Dmitriyev was unlawfully apprehended by the police officers in his own apartment and taken to Police Department no. 7 on suspicion of theft, which he, as it was revealed later, did not commit. After his «conversation» with the criminal investigation department officers Dmitriyev signed a confession statement. Vertebral fracture and inpatient admission became other sad results of «enhanced interrogation» of Aleksandr.
According to Dmitriyev, who applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance, the policemen were beating him and used the method of torture known as «envelope» (victim’s hands are twisted behind the back and handcuffed, legs are tied together and with the hands so that the victim is «folded» like an envelope).
On 13 April 2011 criminal proceedings were initiated following Dmitriyev’s complaint, but on 6 October 2011 the case was closed on the grounds that no crime had been committed. However, due to the efforts of the Committee Against Torture which called the media attention to this case, on 10 May 2012 the case was reopened and transferred to the first department of the Nizhny Novgorod region Investigative Committee Investigative Department.
As a result on 23 January 2014 the Sovetskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod pronounced the guilty verdict for two former police officers of Police Department No. 7 Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov and convicted them to five years prison term.
Their defense team was not satisfied with the court decision and filed an appellate complaint against it, and on 4 March of this year the penal commission quashed the judgment of the court of the first instance. The convicted who spent over a year in a pretrial detention facility were released today in the courtroom, their pre-trial restraint was limited to home detention.
«Material violation of the criminal procedure legislation» became the ground for quashing the judgment passed by the Sovetsky District Court on 23 January 2014. In particular, in the opinion of the appeals instance, the Nizhny Novgorod Sovetsky District Court federal judge Mariya Lazareva did not announce the composition of the court in the course of the criminal case hearing, the court hearing participants were not told who was the public prosecutor, the defense attorney, the affected party.
Another ground for the verdict’s quashing was absence of note confirming that the defense team had been explained its right to propose a disqualification of the representatives of the affected party. The court did not explain the parties the right to propose a disqualification of the chairman, the public prosecutor, the defense attorneys of the defendants and the court session secretary.
According to the appeals instance, «the court allowed material constraint of the constitutional rights of the defendants and the persons acting as the victim’s representatives».
Inspector of the investigations department of Nizhny Novgorod office of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Sergey Romanov who represents the interests of the victim Aleksandr Dmitriyev: «It is a pity that a generally just verdict was quashed, in essence, due to technical mistakes. The court of the appeals instance did not call into question the culpability of the victims and focused only on the procedural issues. We hope that in the course of a new hearing an experienced federal judge Vitaly Bondarenko will take into consideration all the details and pass a just verdict, which will be impossible to lodge a claim against».
In the course of tomorrow’s court hearing which starts at 2 p.m. the prosecutor will be listened, and the evidence examination procedure will be established. It will not be possible to question the victim since he is undergoing his treatment: after Aleksandr Dmitryev learned that he is going to face yet another trial his health condition has deteriorated sharply.