Two citizens of the Orenburg region, Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov, claim to have been tortured by law-enforcement officers on 7 and 8 March of this year, when being forced to confess of high-profile crime –murder of the Orenburg entrepreneur and his little son. According to Shykhaliyev, he was forced to confess of committing this crime, however, later on the suspicions were lifted from both men, and they were released from the Pre-trial Detention Facility, since they had an indisputable alibi.
(Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov)
On 1 June 2018, Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov from Abdulino town applied to the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. The men reported that on 7 March 2018 they were apprehended one by one by the police officers, who, without explaining the reasons, delivered them to Orenburg to the building of the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Orenburg region, located at address: Dubitskogo St., 2.
According to Ramin Shakhmarov, his tortures started in the vehicle which transported him to Orenburg. For example, Ramin’s handcuffed hands were placed on the back of rear seat – he stayed in this position for the duration of the trip which lasted over three hours. Ramin claimed to have been repeatedly insulted due to his ethnic origin.
As Shakhmarov explained, almost immediately upon arrival at the building of the regional Department of the Interior, the police officers started to beat him up, forcing him to confess of committing a crime. He did not know what crime it was. He was also shown some handcuffs and asked whether he recognized them or not.
– Some time later the police officers told me that I killed a man and his little son and suggested that I voluntarily confessed of committing it. I refused, after that the battery continued, – Shakhmarov recalls.
According to Ramin, his nose and mouth were closed with a plastic bag several times to block the air access. At some moment he lost his consciousness and, when he came to his senses, he saw five police officers around him, who looked rather scared.
– After I came to my senses, I sat on the floor. However, the police officers pressed me against the floor and started to thrust against my back and neck, demanding that I confessed of murder. At that moment blood started to come out of my throat. Sometime later the battery stopped. Although, I never signed anything, – Ramin says.
Mushfig Shykhaliyev was also delivered to the building at Dubitskaya street. According to him, the police officers started to beat him up, hitting the head, the back and the abdomen.
– Then they showed photographs of bodies of a man and a kid and told me that my acquaintance and my cousin gave testimony that I did it, – Shykhaliyev recalls. – I tried to explain that I had an alibi and on that day I was in Bashkiria and was buying meat, which is easy to prove with documents. But they replied that no one was going to check anything and I had better confess of everything.
According to Mushfig, one of law-enforcement officers several times pressed on his genitals with his foot for a long time, forcing him to confess. Later on, they beat his feet with an electrical shocker.
– When I asked to take me to toilet, the officer, who was pressing my genitals and hit me in the area of the head, told me that they could bring me to the toilet only to dip my head into the toilet bowl”, – Mushfig Shykhaliyev recalls.
In the evening of 8 March both men were taken to the Temporary Detention Cell of Orenburg, and on 10 March the court took Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov under custody as suspected of committing double murder and sent them to Pre-trial Detention Facility No.1. When in Pre-trial Detention Facility, Mushfig Shykhaliyev wrote a full confession. According to him, he wrote it after one of the members of administrative staff made a hint to him that he might be raped if he persisted.
Investigative Committee officers, having checked the alibi of Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov, lifted the preventive measure for them on 17 March. Having been released from the Pre-trial Detention Facility, both men applied for medical assistance. In addition, when the men arrived home, they found out that repeated searches was conducted at their homes in the presence of their wives and kids, in the course of which some clothes were seized and still not returned.
On 9 May, Mushfig and Ramin learned that third arrested man in this case, who defamed them, was also released from the Pre-trial Detention Facility. According to this man, he had to defame Shykhaliyev and Shakhmarov, since he himself was tortured and was promised to be involved in the case in the capacity of a witness. He refused to apply to the Committee Against Torture.
On 5 June 2018, human rights defenders submitted a crime report to the Investigative Committee. On the next day already, Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov were questioned by the investigator in the framework of the pre-investigation check. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture also commenced conducting public investigation.
“This story should be thoroughly checked both by us and by the Investigative Committee, however, even now a number of justified questions arises, the main of which amounts to the following: how it came about that two out of three arrested persons first, allegedly voluntarily, confess of committing a grave crime, and then it turns out that they have an alibi and not involved, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin says. – We already started our own public investigation, in the course of which we will try to gather maximum of information; we also will represent Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov’s interests in the course of pre-investigative check”.