Former special police force serviceman will have to pay compensation to his victim


15 January 2014

On 14 January 2014 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Mari El upheld the decision delivered by the first instance court ordering compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage to Konstantin Almakaev. The damage was inflicted by the criminal act of a former special police force unit (OMON) serviceman Andrey Bulygin. After being beaten by the police officer Konstantin underwent a complex craniocerebral surgery. The court decision has entered into force.

(Photo: Konstantin Almakaev)

The events ran as follows. In March 2011 a young man from Sovetskiy town in the Republic of Mari El, Konstantin Almakaev, applied to the regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture». According to the man, on 11 November 2010 he, together with his friends, went to one of local cafes to celebrate his friends’ homecoming from the army. There, several men warmed up by alcohol came over. The men were angry with the friends who blocked the road obstructing the traffic. One of the men kicked Konstantin in the chest. As it turned out later, it was a serviceman of special police force unit under the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic. The blow knocked Konstantin down, he fell and hit his head on the asphalt. Having regained consciousness, he could barely understand what was going on. His friends took him up and brought home, where he stayed in bed for two days.

On 15 November 2010 Mr Almakaev was hospitalized in the Sovetskiy district hospital with the diagnosis «closed craniocerebral injury, closed linear right frontal and parietal bone fracture, brain contusion». On 21 December 2010 he was operated on – right craniotomy, chronical right parietal epidural haematoma evacuation, subdural drainage. Mr Almakaev was granted a disability status, the third group under the relevant Russian system of its evaluation. His status was terminated at the beginning of 2013.

The initiated criminal investigation was three times adjourned, assertedly due to the absence of suspects. Lawyers working with the Committee Against Torture appealed against those decisions. Human rights defenders filed a total of eleven complaints. Following their request, an identity parade was at last arranged, and Mr Almakaev did not hesitate to point at the offender – it appeared to be the Ministry of the Interior serviceman – Mr Bulygin.

On 14 August 2012 justice of the peace of judicial sub-district no.1 of Sovetskiy district of the Mari El Republic found the former special police force unit under the Ministry of the Interior for the Republic of Mari El (OMON MVD RME) officer Andrey Bulygin guilty under Article 118 (1) of Russian Criminal Code (negligent infliction of serious bodily injury) and sentenced him to 200 hours of compulsory community service.

Mr Bulygin twice appealed against the judgment asking for acquittal, but the Supreme Court of the Mari El Republic upheld the first instance conviction, though freed the perpetrator from the hours of compulsory community service due to expiration of the statute of limitations.

After the conviction had come into force, the human rights defenders representing Konstantin Almakaev’s interests filed a claim against Mr Bulygin demanding compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.

On 23 October  the Sovetskiy District Court of the Republic of Mari El  partially sustained the claims. The court ruled that Mr Bulygin is to pay the plaintiff 100 000 rubles in respect of non-pecuniary damage, and 40 000 rubles in respect of pecuniary damage.

The former law enforcement agent did not agree with the court decision – and appealed against it. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court of the Mari El Republic supported the first instance court in its legal opinion.

«We’ve been into this case for three years. Unfortunately, because of numerous delays and other drawbacks of the investigation the criminal is not going to be punished. The expired statute of limitations had saved him even from such a mild thing as community service», says Dmitry Yalikov, the Head of the Mari El regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture», «But we have at least attained this compensation, which will be spent on Konstantin’s further medical treatment».

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