Ex-defendant in the case of the Orenburg entrepreneur and his son’s murder report tortures


08 August 2019
Mushfig Guliyev

Mushfig Guliyev from Azerbaijan applied to the Committee Against Torture. He informed that in March of last year he was forced under torture to bear false witness against two acquaintances of his, accusing them of murder of the Orenburg entrepreneur and his little son. Later on, all suspicions and charges against these three men were lifted due to their non-involvement in the crime committed. Despite the fact that each of them reported of tortures, no criminal case has been opened yet.

As we have previously reported, on 1 June 2018, Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov from Abdulino town applied to the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. The men reported that on 7 March 2018 they were apprehended one by one by the police officers, who, without explaining the reasons, delivered them to Orenburg to the building of the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Orenburg region, located at address: Dubitskogo St., 2.

There, according to the applicants, they were tortured by law-enforcement officers who demanded that they confess of murder of the entrepreneur and his little son. Later on, when he was at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility, Mushfig Shykhaliyev signed a confession. According to him, he wrote it after one of the administration officers hinted to him that he might be raped if he persists.

According to Mushfig Guliyev, who used to be a defendant in the murder case, he was also tortured when forced to confess. He decided to apply to human rights defenders only in the end of July of this year – only after he left the territory of Russia.

In his application, Guliyev told that he was tortured in the building of the Department of the Interior for the Orenburg region on 7 March 2018: “One of the officers took a thick book, put it on my head and started to hit with his fist at the book like a hammer at the anvil. While they were beating me with fists and with book at my head, they kept insulting me: “Goats, terrorists, wogs, bitches”.

According to Mushfig, they were choking him: closed his nose with a plastic bad, put a plastic bag on his head, each time blocking the access of oxygen, due to that he was losing his consciousness from time to time.

As Guliyev told, “swallow” torture was applied against him: “Some officer pushed me on the floor face down, pull some rope around my head, covering the part of my mouth in such a way that the rope went between my teeth and opened my mouth. Then he pulled this rope to my feet, tying them up in the ankles area. In this way I was in a most inconvenient and painful position, it was especially painful for the spine, as it was bent in opposite direction. The other officer was pressing on the rope which passed through my head and feet which inflicted even stronger, unbearable pain to me. I was kept like that for about 30 minutes”.

According to Guliyev, tortures lasted during the whole day, battery and abuse were followed by constant hits of electric shocker all over this body. As Guliyev recalls, he was forced to swallow some pill, after which he had feeling of drunkenness. In addition, Guliyev informed that he was forcibly made some injection.

Threats of the police officers to apply similar tortures against his close people and relatives who were based in Russia became the final nail in the coffin of Guliyev’s patience. He treated these threats seriously, as the police officers provided names and addresses of his close people.

“When the evening came, the police officers untied my hands and moved me in adjacent room. They printed out some documents there and ordered to sign them, at the same time they did not give me opportunity to read what I was signing. I signed everything. After that they did not touch me, but did not remove the handcuffs, did not feed, and did not let me use the toilet, either”, — Guliyev recalls.

“As it turned out later from the materials of the check with regard to torture complaint, these signed documents included the testimony that Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov were involved in committing this crime”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments.

On the same evening and on the next day, the investigation authorities, basing on Guliyev’s testimony, started to actively perform investigative activities: interrogations, face-to-face confrontations, checking the evidence on site, identifications. As a result, Guliyev was charged with murder, and Shakhmarov and Shykhaliyev were declared suspects.
However, a week later, on 17 March 2018, Shakhmarov and Shykhaliyev were released due to lack of proof of their guilt — the alibi, which they initially reported, was confirmed: at the time of the murder of the entrepreneur and his son they were in Bashkiria, dealing with purchase of meat.

Two months after, Guliyev was also released from custody — his alibi was confirmed by numerous witnesses. However, he was moved from the Pre-Trial Detention Facility to the special facility for temporary detention of foreign citizens, because, when he was in custody, his permit for temporary stay in Russia expired. He became a hostage of this situation, and had to wait for another nine months for compulsory deportation from Russia.

According to Mushfig, at that time he was afraid to turn to anyone for legal assistance, as he was in fear for his life. And only when he returned to Azerbaijan, he felt safe and decided to apply to the Committee Against Torture.

As we have already reported, on 6 June, human rights defenders applied to the Investigative Committee on behalf of Shakhmarov and Shykhaliev with a torture complaint. On 29 June, the criminal case with regard to the fact of abuse of office was opened, however, as early as on 2 July this ruling was quashed by the Prosecutor’s office.

Starting from 3 July, the investigators of the Third Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF based in Nizhny Novgorod started checking the torture complaint.

By the present time, the investigators issued three rulings refusing to initiate criminal proceedings, the last of which is dated 2 November 2018.

“After a terrible murder three persons are apprehended, who start to bear false testimonies against each other, accusing each other of committing a crime which is punished by a life sentence. One of them even signs full confession. The court, without getting into much detail, takes innocent people into custody. Forensic medical expert who is obliged to examine the persons who report torture, according to them, is not doing it. As a result, one and a half years after, the real murderers were not found, lives of the three people are mutilated, and the investigative authorities do not see anything suspicious in the fact that some grown-up and reasonable people bear false witness against each other or confess of committing an extremely grievous crime, which they were not involved in, themselves. In the nearest future we will appeal against the last refusal of the investigator and will insist on initiating the criminal case with regard to applying torture, – Albina Mudarisova comments.

As we have previously reported, the representatives of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Russia offered official apologies to Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov, whom the investigators groundlessly suspected of murder of the Orenburg entrepreneur and his little son.

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