For 10 years the investigators of Mari El are not able to take a legal decision based on a torture complaint


03 May 2017

For over three years human rights defenders have been insisting on resuming the pre-investigation check based on the complaint of Ruslan Lebedev from the Republic of Mari El of the battery by the police officers – as a result, they succeeded only upon submitting a complaint to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. However, the resumed check will bring no result, since the 10 years period of limitation for criminal responsibility for this case category is over. 

(Ruslan Lebedev)

As we have previously reported, in 2007 Ruslan Lebedev from Novy Toryal settlement in the Republic of Mari El applied to the Committee for the Prevention of Torture. He reported to human rights defenders that in the night from 30 March to 31 March he was brutally beaten up by the police officers.
According to Ruslan, that night he was going back from the neighboring village on a car in the company of three guys. Some time later one of the passengers noticed that a car with a rotating beacon on was following them, however, the driver continued driving and stopped only in Novy Toryal itself, since he was out of petrol. Right after that VAZ-2115 car stopped nearby, a police officer in a uniform came out. Ruslan and his friends also came out of the vehicle. The police officer started to question them on the reason why they did not stop. The conversation was dropped practically right away, since 3-4 minutes later a police vehicle UAZ came by, and several police officers ran out of it and having pushed the young people on the ground started to beat them up with hands and feet. Then the whole company was taken to the Department of the Interior of the Novotoryalsky region of the Republic of Mari El, where the battery continued. In particular, Ruslan was “grilled” about the car in which they were driving and its driver.

After such communication with law-enforcement officers Ruslan had to undergo hospital treatment, where he was diagnosed with closed craniocerebral trauma, cerebral contusion, brain concussion, numerous bruises of the face and hematomas, hematoma of the occipital region from the left, temporal regions, numerous bruises of the back, neck, shoulder, right side surface of the body, bruise of the waist area, bruise of the right earflap. 

On 31 March Ruslan’s mother Raisiya Lebedeva applied with a crime report to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Novotoryalsky region. However, the criminal case was never opened: at first the Prosecutor’s Office issued six refusals to open a criminal case, considering that Ruslan obtained his bodily injuries as a result of legal actions of law enforcement officers. The last refusal was issued on 20 May 2013. 

In December 2007 human rights defenders submitted a complaint on behalf of Ruslan Lebedev to the European Court of Human Rights. In January 2013 it was communicated and the Russian authorities were provided with questions on the circumstances of the story. 

Work at the domestic level continued, too. Human rights defenders were appealing against the last refusal for over three years: at first it was declared legal by district and  republican courts, later on – by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Directorate for the Mari El Republic. Only after the complaint to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation the refusal to initiate criminal proceedings dated 20 May 2013 was declared illegal and quashed and the materials were returned to the Sovetsky Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Republic of Mari El for resuming the check. 
On 30 March 2017 investigator of this department Oksana Iltubayeva once again refused to initiate criminal proceedings. This time this refusal was quashed by local authorities and the material was sent for another check, the 8th in a row. 

“The results of this check, as a matter of fact, do not matter, since the period of limitation for criminal responsibility for such case category is over, – lawyer of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Dmitry Yalikov, representing the interests of Ruslan Lebedev, thinks. – The legal term “effective investigation” in this case sounds like a mockery: for ten years the investigation failed to come up with a legal ruling based on the results of their check, so we intend to apply to the Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee so that the ones responsible for red tape will be punished. We will also ask the lawyers to evaluate the quality of the investigators’ work in ruble equivalent, and what is the price of their work which our country will have to pay in the foreign currency will soon be decided by the European Court of Human Rights”.

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