Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the Investigative Committee on behalf of four residents of Orenburg who accuse law-enforcement officers of applying violence against them during the protest rally of 31 January of this year.
After the protest rally that took place in Orenburg on 31 January 2021, four citizens applied to the Committee Against Torture with claims to carry out a public investigation and offer a legal support. One of them, lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin, participating in the event as an observer. All the applicants claim that physical violence was illegally applied against them by the people dressed in civilian clothes without insignia.
Timur Rakhmatulin said that during the event two men in civilian clothes seized him and, without introducing themselves, brought them to the van where the police officers were standing. There they started to push him inside the van, and one of the men in civilian clothes hit him in the groin: “I started to demand that they introduced themselves and explained to me why they were using force against me. I started to thrust my feet and arms against the doorway of the van, after which the man in civilian clothes on the right of me hit me in the groin. The hit was rather strong, that is why I screamed with pain”.
Vladimir Savchenko also reported violence applied against him by a man in civilian clothes: “In some moment, when they just caught me, I shouted “Russia will be free!”, in response to which I received a hit in the solar plexus, due to which I fell silent and shrank into oneself. The hit was made by that man in a gray jacket and a mask who seized me by the neck. After that blow I felt pain in my solar plexus for several hours, however, no bodily injuries developed”.
Mikhail Perekhozhev told that he was brutally apprehended by the police officers, and a man in civilian clothes hit him twice: “At some moment, some people in civilian clothes ran up to me and to the police officers, at first I did not realize who they were, but then I received a blow from the right in the liver area, and a second later – a blow from the left at the hypochondriac region. I looked at the person who gave me these two blows. He had black gloves on, I realized that these were not common gloves but the ones the police officers or OMON use”.
Dmitry Teleshenko complained that one of the men who was apprehending Vladimir Savchenko, hit him in the face.
After the apprehension, all the applicants were taken to Police Department No.1 of Orenburg were for every one protocols were drawn with regard to the administrative violation under part 1 Article 19.3 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation (“disobedience to a legal demand of a police officer”) and part 5, Article 20.2 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation (“Violation of the established procedure of organizing or holding the meeting, rally, demonstration, march or picketing”). All four were detained for 48 hours and put to the special detention facility.
The applicants also told about the violations of the conditions of detention at the police department, when the apprehended were groundlessly taken to the cell for administratively detained, were deprived of food for several hours and no parcels were accepted from relatives and friends, lawyers were not allowed to see the apprehended, and the documents were drawn with numerous violations.
On 1 and 2 February, the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg dismissed the cases of the apprehended with regard to disobedience to lawful demands of the police officers, as it did not find any element of crime in the actions of the apprehended. However, as human rights defenders learned afterwards, the police officers appealed against all the court rulings according to which Rakhmatulin, Teleshenko, Perekhozhev and Savchenko were declared not guilty.
Human rights defenders applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report on behalf of four applicants.
“In our view, neither the participants of the events nor the apprehended who were just passing by, did not commit any actions that would justify the brutal actions of the law-enforcement officers, – head of the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture Sergey Babinets comments. – It is a bewildering situation when hard-built men in civilian clothes with no insignia, probably, members of special forces, seize people in the street, apply force against them, beat them up, take them somewhere. We will insist on effective investigation and responsibility for the guilty.