Yesterday, on 23 January 2019, the Moscow City Court examined the appellate appeals of former police officers Aleksey Burulko and Nikolay Pervakov. They claimed that the verdict which was declared with regard to them by the Tagansky District Court of Moscow for the battery of the Torpedo football club Faig Nagdaliev was too harsh. The panel of judges did not agree to the opinion of the former police officers that real jail time should be changed to conditional sentence, but decreased their terms of sentence: Aleksey Burulko is sentenced to three years and four months of prison term, Pervakov – to three years and eight months, with serving the sentence in a standard regime penal colony.
As we have previously reported, Faig Nagdaliyev applied to the Committee Against Torture with a complaint, stating that in August 2016 he was beaten up by the police officers after he gave them reproof for smoking at undesignated smoking point. According to Faig, on 25 August 2016 he saw a group of people who were smoking at the entrance to Taganskaya metro station. There were 8-10 of them and the majority wore police uniforms. Faig was surprised that the police officers were violating the Code of Administrative Offences in such an open manner. He approached them and made a comment on that. The police officers replied in a gross manner, after that an argument followed on how the law-enforcement officers should and should not behave. According to Faig, the dispute ended when one of the officers knocked Faig’s mobile phone from his hands when he was trying to take a photo of the law-enforcement officers, and then the policemen pulled his arms behind him, put him on his knees and beat him up, kicking at his head and chest. As a result, Faig was inflicted with closed craniocerebral injury, brain concussion, as well as numerous bruises and contusions.
According to Faig, after that he was apprehended and taken at first to the police premises at Taganskaya metro station, and then to the police department. As he was explained, it happened due to his attempt to take a photo of the police officers. In the end, Faig was released, but before that he was forced to write that all the injuries he received on his own, when he hit against the door of the metro train.
“On the same evening the police officers brought a cake to the Russian Football Union and apologized to the security officer at the check point”, – Faig remembers.
Nevertheless, Faig was convinced that apart from the cake and apologies to Russian Football Union security officer who had nothing to do with the incident, the guilty officers should be brought to responsibility established by the law for battery. For over a year he was seeking for justice at the Investigative Committee, however, the investigative authorities kept issuing refusals to initiate criminal proceedings which were subsequently quashed.
In the end, on 3 November 2017, during personal appointment with Head of the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for Moscow Aleksandr Drymanov, the latter, having listened to Faig, ordered to open a criminal case against the police officers who beat him up. On 7 November, his order was implemented, and a criminal case was opened with regard to elements of crime under item “a” of Part 3, Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence”).
In the course of the investigation, two former officers of the Patrol-Guard Serivce at the Moscow Metro, who, according to Faig, applied physical force against him, confessed and repented. Aleksey Burulko and Nikolay Pervakov told the investigator how they hit Faig Nagdaliev several times without any legal grounds, and they fully confirmed the victim’s evidence.
In March 2018, the investigation was completed and the criminal case materials were sent to the Tagansky District Court of Moscow.
On 1 August 2018, judge Natalya Larina passed a verdict of conviction with regard to two former police officers Aleksey Burulko and Nikolay Pervakov. They were declared guilty of committing the crime under item “a” Part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of Russia (“abuse of office with the use of violence”). Aleksey Burulko is sentenced to three years and six months of prison term, Nikolay Pervakov – to three years and nine months, with serving the sentence in a standard regime penal colony. The convicts were taken into custody in the court room.
The police officers and their lawyers, however, did not agree to the verdict and submitted appellate appeals. On 23 January 2019, the Moscow City Court examined them and came to conclusion that, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, as well as the characteristics of the personalities of the convicts, the term of sentence, inflicted by the first instance, should be decreased a little bit. As a result, the punishment of Aleksey Burulko was decreased by two months down to three years and four months, and the punishment of Nikolay Pervakov – by one month and amounted to three years and eight months of imprisonment.
“We consider such a verdict of the court to be absolutely just, – says lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Anastasia Garina. – The former police officers took a rather controversial stand: on the one hand, they, apparently, wrote full confessions, fully acknowledged their guilt and repented what they committed, and on the other hand, they keep emphasizing that Faig provoked them by recording the incident on his phone. All the attempts to explain to former law-enforcement officers that preventing their crime by the citizen is not a provoking, but on the contrary, socially valuable behavior, do not find their understanding. Accordingly, I have an impression that Burulko and Pervakov hardly realized how grave a crime they committed and continue to think that they were right in some respect, and all the repentance and apologies serve only for the court to consider them as a mitigating circumstance”.
At the present moment, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture intend to submit a civil lawsuit seeking compensation of moral damage inflicted to Faig Nagdaliev by their crime. Previously, it was agreed that Aleksey Burulko and Nikolay Pervakov would pay this compensation voluntarily, but in the end, the former police officers refused to execute the achieved agreement.