The Supreme Court of the Republic of Mari El upheld the decision delivered by the first instance court ordering the four former police officers, convicted for torture of Ivan Kozlov from Yoshkar-Ola, to pay 250 000 RUB to the Russian Federation treasury. Previously the Ministry of Finance of RF paid the similar sum of money to the plaintiff as a compensation for moral damages inflicted by the crime of the police officers.
(Photo: head of representation of INGO «Committee Against Torture» in the Republic of Mari El, Dmitry Yalimov and Ivan Kozlov and his father)
As we have previously reported, on 3 July 2007 the Mari-El representation of the Committee Against Torture received an application from Ivan Kozlov. According to Ivan, on 26 June 2007 around 5 p.m. he and his sister were summoned to the Traffic Police Office to give explanations regarding a traffic accident. They did not know what traffic accident was at issue, nevertheless, they arrived at the police station on time. Under the pretext of an identification parade Ivan was asked to go to the Zarechny Police Department under the Yoshkar-Ola Directorate of the Interior, and only there it occurred to him what the police really wanted.
The police handcuffed Ivan and started beating him, at the same time demanding that he should confess to the murder of a certain girl he barely knew. Ivan’s claims of non-involvement into the crime were ignored and beatings continued. The young man said that he had had a knee surgery recently. In fact, he shouldn’t have done so, as the policemen immediately hit him in the injured leg.
Later the tortures became more sophisticated – the police put a gas mask on Ivan’s head and shut the air off until he fainted, hung him by the hands. Being unable to stand the tortures, the young man confessed to the murder and began inventing the murder scenario, the policemen were correcting his statement, prompting how it would be better to describe the crime. The tortures lasted more than 12 hours, the following day the young man was taken to the Prosecutor’s Office and then to hospital where he lost his consciousness. While being an in-patient in the Republican Hospital, Kozlov learnt that the real murderer had been found.
Only after five years of appeals against the unlawful decisions and fighting the investigators’ sabotaging the case, lawyers with INGO «The Committee Against Torture» managed to literally drag this case to court.
On 8 June 2012 The Yoshkar-Ola City Court of the Mari El Republic passed its decision concerning four police officers, charged with exceeding official powers committed with the use of violence against Ivan Kozlov. All four police operatives of the operational search unit of MOI in Mari-El were found guilty: The court imposed on Pershunin and Dubnikov a punishment in the form of one and a half years’ prison term in a penal colony with the standard security regime; while on Shestakov and Belavin, a punishment in the form of four years’ probation.
On December 24, 2012 in the Yoshkar-Ola City Court of Mari-El Republic there was a court session on the moral harm compensation application of Ivan Kozlov to the Ministry of Finance. The court awarded a compensation of 250 000 rubles to Kozlov. On 5 March 2013 the decision entered into force.
In its turn, the Ministry of Finance, having paid the awarded sum to Ivan Kozlov, used its right of regressive action directly against the party that caused damage – former police officers.
First the Yoshkar-Ola City Court, then the Supreme Court of Mari-El Republic acknowledged this claim as legitimate.
«Regressive action in this case will allow compensating for damage inflicted to Russian treasury by unlawful actions of the law-enforcement officers, and for police officers this right would be another warning that could restrain them from exceeding their official authority», – claims Dmitry Yalikov, the head of the Mari-El representation of the Committee Against Torture.