For a whole month, the investigators of the Investigative Committee have not been able to find an opportunity to perform an urgent investigative action – the visual inspection of the apartment and taking the blood smears, allegedly remained after the police officers beat up Svyatoslav Knyazev who was detained on suspicion of theft from Polina Yumasheva’s apartment. Apparently, in the nearest future this evidence will be lost.
On 20 May 2020, Svyatoslav Knyazev applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. He informed human rights defenders that on 10 May 2020 he was beaten up by the police officers after he was apprehended on suspicion of having committed a theft from Polina Yumasheva’s apartment. Subsequently, in medical institutions Knyazev was diagnosed with a fracture of nasal and facial bones.
Svyatoslav pointed out that after a police officer hit him in the face with a fist with force, excessive bleeding started, as a result of which numerous blood smears remained on the floor of the apartment and his clothes. Later on, Knyazev’s relatives provided lawyers with the Committee Against Torture with photographs on which some brown stains are seen on the floor and the interior design items of the Svyatoslav’s apartment, where his apprehension took place.
Immediately on the day of Knyazev’s application, on 20 May 2020, human rights defenders submitted a report on the crime decribed by the article on abuse of office with the use of violence, to the department for investigation of crimes committed by law-enforcement executives with the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Moscow.
However, after a week on the shelf, the material of the check for this application was transferred to the Investigative Department for the Central Administrative District of Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Moscow without any checking activities. From there, on 16 June, it was transferred to the Meschansky Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Moscow, without any checking activities, either.
All this time, the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture were actively trying to ensure that the Investigative Committee takes obvious urgent measures, necessary to prevent the traces of possible crime from getting lost. For example, on 28 May, the Chief Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Moscow received motions on urgent visual examination of the scene of incident and taking blood smears, on the same day the similar motions were submitted to the Investigative Department for the Central Administrative District of Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Moscow during personal appointment and by telegram. On 17 June the similar motions were hand-delivered in person to Deputy Head of the Meschansky Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Moscow Dmitry Ivanov.
“The reaction of Mr Ivanov was somewhay unexpected: he replied that he cannot promise to conduct these checking activities, although, in theory, a failure to perform them is a gross violation by investigators”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Georgiy Ivanov comments.
Back on 28 May, human rights defenders appealed against obvious inaction of the investigative bodies to the Prosecutor’s Office, on 3 June the application with regard to the same facts was submitted in course of personal appointment to Deputy Prosecutor of Moscow Dmitry Burko, and on 15 June lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow with an application against the inaction of the investigators. In addition, on 10 June, the Moscow ombudsman Tatyana Potyaeva applied to the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Moscow and the Prosecutor’s Office of Moscow with a request concerning progress of the investigation of Svyatoslav Knyazev’s application on illegal applying physical force against him by the police officers.
“This is some kind of demonstrative reluctance of the investigative authorities to do their job properly. We have already used all possible channels of communication in order to inform the superiors of all levels in the Moscow Investigative Committee about the necessity of urgent visual inspection of the scene of incident. We even have already submitted a telegram. At the same time, everything what we tell them they know perfectly well themselves because this is their direct office duty, – Georgiy Ivanov comments. – In addition, the investigators know perfectly well that Knyazev is a person who is complaining a grave crime which have been committed against him by the police officers – he lives in a rented apartment and it is not economically feasible for its owners to keep it empty for a long time. Evidently, if nothing is done, one of these days the key evidence will be lost forever and the Moscow investigators will be able to boast about another torture case swept under the carpet”.