EUR 2 000 in compensation for clinical death after ill-treatment by the police


05 March 2014

On 4 March 2014 the Court of Appeal upheld the decision rendered by the the Nizhegorodskiy District Court, which had awarded Dmitry Krutov 100 000 rubles in compensation for the sufferings the man had endured during and in the aftermath of the ill-treatment he had been subjected to by police officer Sergey Khurtin, which resulted in clinical death of the victim. Human rights defenders are going to appeal against this decision, calling it highly inconsistent.

(Photo: Dmirty Krutov after his surgery)

On 22 March 2013 Nizhny Novgorod resident Dmitry Krutov applied to the Committee Against Torture seeking help. He complained about ill-treatment in the police. According to the victim, on February 12 he had a quarrel with his wife, and at about 3 pm her relatives called the police. The officers who arrived following the call detained Dmitry and took him to Police Department № 5, which is located in Nizhegorodskiy district of the city. There Mr Krutov was knocked down and beaten up severely. After that, policemen locked him in a cell of the department’s temporary detention facility. At about 7 pm he was released.

At home Dmitry felt bad, he fainted several times. Next morning his mother called an ambulance which took him to city hospital № 1 for an urgent surgery. During the surgery he underwent clinical death, and it took the doctors their best efforts to save the man’s life, for Dmitry had lost much blood due to multiple internal injuries.

On 6 December 2012 the former policeman of Nizhny Novgorod Police Department №5 Sergey Khurtin was found guilty of exceeding official powers and intentional infliction of a grave injury, which is hazardous for human life. He was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment to be served in a general regime (minimum security) colony. The next step in Dmitry Krutov’s rights defending was filing a claim for compensation to be payed by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

On 12 September 2013 the Nizhegorodskiy District Court awarded Dmitry Krutov 100 000 rubles compensation while the claimed amount was one million rubles. Human right defenders believed that compensation to be disproportionate to the gravity of the damage inflicted to the applicant, and to fall short of case-law and legal principles of the European Court of Human Rights. The applicant’s lawyers appealed against that judgment, but on 4 March 2014 the Court of Appeal upheld the decision in question.

«Last time the Ministry of Finance representative believed Dmitry’s allegations had not been proved. The respondent authorities considered that neither the applicant’s clinical death, nor the grave injury to health the applicant had sustained, nor his psychological rehabilitation in the aftermath of the incident supported the applicant’s allegations of the damage. This time the defendant hasn’t even bothered to appear before court. Neither have the representatives of the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office. As for the judges, it took them no more than several seconds to reach the conclusion», says Evgeniy Chilikov, the lawyer with the Committee Against Torture who represents the applicants’ interests.

The Head of the Investigation Department of Nizhny Novgorod Office of the Committee, Dmitry Utukin, is as well surprised at the judges’ opinion: «The decision struck me as highly inconsistent and falling short of the similar judicial practice. For instance, last year the Regional Court sustained a claim by Pavel Guryanov, and awarded him 300 000 rubles in compensation, while the pecuniary damage inflicted had appeared much less. In present case the court has awarded a compensation ten times smaller than the applicant had asked for. We will certainly appeal against the decision before the Court of Cassation».

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