For the third time, the Orenburg investigators refuse to open a criminal case concerning the battery of foreign citizens


19 November 2020

For the third time, the Investigative Committee investigators refused to open a criminal case with regard to the fact of the battery of several men at the Immigration Center in the Orenburg region. According to two men, the police officers and the guards of this institution beat them and other foreigners because they were violating the terms and rules of stay at the institution. Another dismissal from the investigator is already quashed, the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture will be insisting on opening the case.

As we have previously reported, on 26 June 2020, citizen of the Republic of Uzbekistan Zarifzhon Mirzonazarov and citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan Gennadiy Tarasov applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to the men, starting from June 2020, the officers of the Administration of the Immigration Center, stationed in Alabaital settlement of the Orenburg region, stopped issuing them telephones with Internet access. The foreign citizens became outraged, as it is very expensive to use standard mobile connection for communication with relatives who are abroad.
Having received a refusal to use telephones with Internet access, the foreign citizens started to put wet paper on the video cameras objectives in their rooms. The police officers removed the paper several times and asked not to do that again.

On 16 June, the issue about providing telephones was not resolved, and in the evenings the video cameras’ objectives got covered with paper again. After a short while, the police officers came to the Immigration Center.

“The masked police officers started to beat us up and twist our arms. One police officer hit me in the face, after that I fell, and he pressed me with his knee against the floor, handcuffed me, lifted me and brought me out of the room with my face down… Me and other lads were taken to the basement, in a gym…where I was forced to lie on the floor face down… Then, Zarif Mirzonazarov was brought in and put on the floor face down… The police officers hit me no less than four times at my feet…”, – Gennadiy Tarasov informed the investigator subsequently.

That is how Zarifzhon Mirzonazarov describes the violence applied against him: “One of the guards in the black uniform hit my feet 4-5 times with a truncheon for no reason at all. I told them that they had no right to beat me up, that this is unlawful. The guard officer, major from Orenburg and police officer who worked in the Center, started to pull my arms behind my back and put handcuffs on me. At that time, I fell and when I was on the floor I was hit twice with a police truncheon at my back”.

According to the applicants, they were lying on the floor of the gym for more than an hour. After that they were put against the wall, face-off and with their arms behind their backs. That’s how they stood for about another hour, after that they were brought out, one by one.

According to Tarasov and Mirzonazarov, later on Prosecutor of the Belyayevsky District Maksim Tretyakov arrived to the Immigration Center, his deputy and police major from Orenburg. The men told the Prosecutor that physical force was applied against them and demonstrated the traces remained on their body. Tretyakov promised to conduct his own check.

On 22 June, a surgeon with state-financed health institution Belyayevskaya Central District Hospital registered Gennadiy with “a contusion of the right thigh, fading hematoma of the right thigh along the back surface 15.0х10.0 cm of yellow-green color”, and Zarifzhon Mirzonazarov with “a contusion of soft tissues of the left thigh. Fading hematoma of the left thigh along the front side surface of yellow-green color”.

On 19 June, a crime report was submitted to the Investigative Committee with regard to the fact of applying physical violence at the Immigration Center. On 18 July, Senior Investigator of the Saraktashskiy Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region Yuliya Izmestyeva issued a ruling refusing to initiate criminal proceedings, which was quashed, and the materials of the check was handed over to the proceedings of the first department for major cases with the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region.

On 18 September of this year, investigator of this department Evgeny Valuyev also dismissed the claim to open a criminal case, which was quashed by his superiors on 12 October.  

Today, it has become known, that on 11 November, investigator Valuyev also dismissed the claim to open a criminal case, having pointed out in his ruling that the “police officers were acting within the limits of the rights and duties provided by the current legislation”. The investigator did not provide a legal assessment of the actions of the private security company officers who assisted the police officers and used force against foreign citizens.  

As early as on 16 November, Acting Head of the First Department for Major Cases of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region Elena Fedorova quashed the last “dismissal” of the investigator, having pointed out that “the claim to open a criminal case is dismissed prematurely, without clarifying all significant circumstances… it is necessary to question all the Immigration Center officers who were on duty on 16 June 2020, including the medical staff, and perform other checking activities”.    

“Investigators’ illegal dismissals to open a criminal case is a problem which we face very often, moreover, even in the cases when there are obvious grounds for opening the case, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin comments. – The European Court of Human Rights repeatedly emphasized that the state is obliged to perform the investigation in the framework of the opened case and not limit itself to formal pre-investigative check. Since it is only in the framework of the criminal case that the investigator can make use of all the tools which he needs to establish all the significant circumstances in the case. And that is why we shall insist on opening the case”.    

As we have previously reported, Gennadiy Tarasov already applied to the Committee Against Torture for help in the past. He is a victim in the case of former Deputy Head of Penal Colony No.3 Evgeniy Matitsyn – he was declared guilty of abuse of office and sentenced to one year prison term, which was replaced by the court with one year of compulsory labor with deducting of fifteen percent of salary to the state revenue.

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