The Investigative Committee started the first pre-investigative check based on the application about illegal use of violence by law-enforcement officers against the participant of the summer 2019 protest rallies Mikhail Faito. Dozens of other victims, whose interests are represented by human rights defenders with the Committee Against Torture, Agora and Zona Prava (“Territory of the law”) failed to have their applications reviewed by the Investigative Committee bodies.
As we have previously reported, on 3 August 2019, Mikhail Faito was apprehended in the center of Moscow and taken to the Department of the Interior of Russia for Pechatniki District. Subsequently, Mikhail told human rights defenders that he was beaten up by the police officers on the territory of the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Pechatniki District of Moscow when he came out of the police van because he started to pose questions and challenge the legality of the police officers’ actions. That is how he describes the incident: “The bus was parked with its cabin facing the concrete fence, I was brought to this gap between the bus and the fence and made me stand stretching, placing my hands on the fence and spreading my feet widely. I informed the police officers that a search requires attesting witnesses, but they did not respond to my words in any way. After the second remark the police officers started to hit my body. The hits were made with fists in the area of kidneys and ribs, in total about five hits were made, I lost count due to pain. I also received a hit from the back, at the right side just above the kidneys. After this hit I could not breath, I did not have air, I croaked. I felt a strong pulsation in my temples and how my body gets limp. If they had not hold me then, I would have fallen at that moment. I was very frightened; I was afraid they might kill me. This was increased by the memories of their brutal discussions of how they were beating people up.
After that, a bit left from the bus, they knocked me down on the pavement, I fell my face down on my left arm. One of the officers was pulling my body and hair, trying to move me away. The second officer was trying to sit on me in the lumbar area. At the same time, my head was also pressed against the pavement. I felt pain in the left side of my face, my shoulders, ankles and stomach. It hurt practically everywhere, as the police officers were pulling me along the asphalt pavement. After that they handcuffed me and pulled me up upwards sharply using handcuffs”.
The ambulance medics and traumatologist diagnosed Mikhail with: “Ligamentous injury of I-st finger of the left hand. Contusion of the left radiocarpal joint. Bruise of the face, body, limbs”.
With regard to these facts the crime report was submitted to the Investigative Committee of Russia back in 2019. However, no pre-investigative check followed. Despite the requirements of the law and departmental instructions, the Investigative Committee central office officers forwarded it to other agencies – Chief Department of the Ministry of the Interior of Moscow and the Department of Internal Security of Rosgvardiya for Moscow, i.e., exactly to the agencies the officers of which are accused of the crime by the applicant. From there Faito received notifications that the superiors of these agencies do not detect any violations in the actions of the officers of the Ministry of the Interior and Rosgvardiya.
On 15 June 2020, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application on behalf of Mikhail Faito to the European Court of Human Rights. In the application the applicant points at the physical violence illegally applied against him by the police officers, as well as to the fact that the Investigative Committee refused even to check this application.
On 26 June 2020, the Lyublinsky District Court of Moscow dismissed the administrative case under article on violation of the rules of participation in the mass event (part 5, Article 20.2 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation) with regard to Mikhail Faito. The case was dismissed due to the absence of the element of crime as it was demanded by human rights defenders who were defending Faito.
“Therefore, as there was no element of administrative crime on the part of Faito, his apprehension, transportation, all the more, applying physical force and special equipment automatically cannot be considered legal. Law-enforcement officers simply did not have legal grounds for such actions, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Petr Khromov, representing Faito’s interests, comments. – That is why, having new arguments, we have repeatedly submitted a crime report to the Investigative Committee, where it was registered and a pre-investigative check will be performed”.
Lawyers of human rights organizations “The Committee Against Torture”, “Agora” and “Zona Prava” represent the interests of 23 people who became victims of the police and Rosgvardiya violence during the protest rallies in Moscow in summer of the last year. Previously, no criminal case was opened with regard to any of these facts, not even pre-investigative checks were performed.
“Previously, the problem of all the “protest rallies cases”, related to complaints about illegal use of physical force against the protesters by law-enforcement officers, was linked not only with the absence of opened cases, but also with the refusal of the Investigative Committee to even start the checks, – head of the Moscow branch of the Committee Against Torture Anastasia Garina comments. – We applied to court about the refusal of the agency to perform the check of a crime report, but the court sided with the Investigative Committee and after that our hands were tied”.