Former police officers accused of abduction and tortures will remain at the Detention Facility till 1 August


29 May 2018

Former police officers Roman Markeev and Evgeny Voronon, charged with Aleksandr Novoselov’s abduction and torture in 2004, will remain at the Detention Facility at least till 1 August of this year. That was the decision that the Nizhny Novgorod District Court took yesterday. As we have previously reported, Novoselov accuses the police officers, stating that they abducted him, took him to the forest and under torture forced to confess of attempt to kill well-known businessman Oleg Sorokin from Nizhny Novgorod in 2004.

(Photo: Aleksandr Novoselov)

In the course of yesterday’s court hearing on extending the period of detention, investigator Evgeny Lagunov informed that the investigation have grounds actions to believe that being at large defendants Roman Markeev and Evgeny Voronin will have a capacity to influence the witnesses and other participants of the court proceedings, flee from the investigation or prevent the proceedings in the case by some other means.

With regard to this the investigator submitted a motion to the court to extend the period of detention till 1 August 2018. Judge of the Nizhny Novgorod District Court Ekaterina Kislidenko satisfied this motion.

As we have previously reported, the charges are brought against Roman Makeyev (in 2004 he was senior investigative officer of the interdistrict police department on investigating serial and contract killings under the Chief Directorate of the Department of Interior for the Nizhny Novgorod region) and Evgeny Voronin (in 2004 he was the head of this department) related to committing especially grave crimes described under items “a, v, g” of Part 2 Article 126 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abduction by a group of persons”) and items “a, b” of part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office with the use of violence”). The defendants did not plead guilty of committing the incriminated crimes.

On 16 May 2018 the Nizhny Novgorod District Court satisfied the motion of the investigator on extending the period of detention till 1 August for Oleg Sorokin as well, who is also involved in the criminal case. He did not plead guilty of committing the incriminated crimes either.

The circumstances of this case are as follows. In May 2005 Aleksandr Novoselov applied to the Committee Against Torture seeking legal assistance. According to the applicant, at about 10 a.m. on 27 April 2004, on one of central squares of the city, he was stopped by several men he was not acquainted with. The men dragged him into a car, beat up and drove to a forest in Balakhninsky district of Nizhny Novgorod region. Shortly after, a white all-road car arrived there, and several men stepped out of it. One of them, as Mr Novoselov insists, looked very much like businessman Sorokin. The men were threatening Aleksandr with a gun and beating him, accusing him of an attempt to murder the businessman. Then a man in camouflage rammed a gun in the applicant’s mouth, making his lower lip bleed. Aleksandr once again denied any involvement in the attempt on the businessman’s life, and the men put a plastic bag over his head, cutting off the air supply. The man looking like Oleg Sorokin said: «Take an axe, let’s cut his leg off». Seeing an axe in one of the men’s hands, Aleksandr felt fear for his life and decided to sign the statements wanted from him. The men also made a video record of him giving confession statements.

The battery resulted in serious bodily injuries. Aleksandr was later diagnosed with contusion of the right kidney, a brain contusion, bruising of the soft tissue of the face and limbs, blood in the urine, a subarachnoid hemorrhage and a fracture of the right ninth rib and other injuries.

Mr Novoselov firstly filed complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office. The investigative body refused to initiate criminal proceedings against the police officers, assertedly basing this decision on the results of a pre-investigation inquiry. The reasoning was the following: Aleksandr Novoselov appeared to have been involved in an operative drill performed by the Directorate of the Interior for Nizhny Novgorod region servicemen, and one of them «was disguised as O.V. Sorokin».

Having failed to attain justice on the national level, on 24 December 2005 lawyers of the Committee Against Torture lodged the relevant application with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Aleksandr Novoselov.

On 28 November 2013 the ECHR delivered a ruling  with regard to it. The Strasbourg judges established that Novoselov was tortured by the representatives of the state, and the investigation of this fact by the Prosecutor’s Office was “shallow” and “formalistic”. At that time, the European Court obliged Russia to pay 27 500 euro to Novoselov.

With regard to the passed ruling of the ECHR, on 12 November 2014 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation decided to resume the proceedings on Novoselov’s complaint due to new circumstances, however, the criminal case was initiated only on 2 August 2017.

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