Today, on 15 November 2018, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights in the interests of Murad Ragimov and Firuddin Ragimov, who claim to have been beaten up in August 2016 by Moscow SOBR officers. According to human rights defenders, apart from the violation of the Article of the European Convention, prohibiting torture, the articles, securing liberty and personal integrity, as well as fair trial, are also violated with regard to Murad.
As we have previously reported, Gyunay Ragimova from Moscow applied to human rights defenders for legal assistance in September 2016. According to her, on August 30, 2016 the officers of Moscow Special Rapid Response Detachment (SOBR) beat up her brother, 22-year old Murad Ragimov and their 59-year old father right in their Moscow apartment (subsequently, they also applied to the Committee Against Torture).
Members of the Ragimov family said that early in the morning their apartment was stormed by no less than twenty SOBR officers in masks and bulletproof jackets, one of them immediately hit Murad in the face. Later on, it turned out that these unbidden guests included several police officers from the Counter-Extremism Center.
According to witnesses, Murad was beaten up for over three hours: the police officers handcuffed him, hit and kicked him, applied electric shocker, broke the kitchen table, tore off one of its legs and beat up Murad with it, broke a cutglass sweets box against his head. According to Murad’s relatives, the police officers chocked him several times with a plastic bag, and when he lost his consciousness they were bringing him to his senses by pouring water on him and sending electric shockers’ charges. The police officers forced him to confess of keeping of weapons, then – of possession of drugs, then – of murder, and when Murad answered that did not have anything to do with it, they resumed tortures.
According to the witnesses of the incident, it all ended only when one of the police officers planted drugs in the pocket of Murad’s trousers and in his bag right before their eyes, and when Murad refused to sign the protocol of this search, one of the SOBR officers forced a knife in his leg.
Members of the Ragimov family also claim that during this time Murad Firruddin’s father was being tortured in the next room: he was beaten up with hands and electric shockers.
Unlike Murad, Firuddin was not charged with anything later on. At the same time, Murad was charged with possession of drugs which were found in his bag and in the pocket of his trousers. On 18 January 2018 the Tushinsky District Court of Moscow declared Murad Ragimov to be guilty of committing a crime under Part 2 of Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“illegal possession of narcotic substances on a large scale”) and sentenced him to three years and six months of imprisonment of the standard security penal colony.
For the third year now, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture are trying to insist that the Investigative Committee performs a conscientious investigation of the Ragimov’s complaint of tortures and violations committed during the search. The investigators issued fourteen refusals to initiate criminal proceedings and thirteen of these refusals were subsequently declared illegal and quashed.
Due to obvious reluctance of the investigative authorities to investigate this incident, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture have submitted an application today on behalf of Murad Ragimov and Firuddin Ragimov.
“We think that there is more than enough of evidence to initiate criminal proceedings against the SOBR officers, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Anastasia Garina, representing the interests of the Ragimovs, comments. – There is evidence of relatives and neighbors, there are several expert examinations, which registered numerous bodily injuries on Murad and Firuddin, there is an expert examination which confirmed that applying electric current against Firuddin. However, nothing is moving at the national level for some reason: no criminal case, no suspects either”.
“Apart from tortures, we also complained to the European Court against the illegal custodial restraint of Murad, who was actually apprehended in the morning of 30 August, and the detention report was drawn uр the day after that, at the same time Murad continued to stay under the authorities agents control, without any legal grounds, – lawyer with the International Legal Defense of the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova emphasizes. – In addition, we consider the criminal trial against Murad to be unfair, with regard to which we claim about the violation of Article 6 of the European Convention. In our view, the Court did not provide the parity of treatment during witnesses questioning as well as during the evaluation of their personal self-interest, building the verdict on the ground of contradictory evidence of the police officers who took part in apprehension of Murad, at the same time the court never explained its stance with regard to why it deemed the defense team version of events to be unconvincing”.