Four young men from the Voskresensk district of Nizhny Novgorod region – Alexander Zhiltsov, Dmitry Polyashov, Maxim Snegov and Sergey Moslov – have lodged a suit against the state claiming compensation of moral damage incurred by the unlawful charge in the amount of 20 million rubles and compensation of damage to health in the amount of 20 million rubles. The total claimed amount is 160 million rubles. The suit will soon be tried by the Nizhny Novgorod regional court. Right now the Committee against Torture is conducting a public investigation upon the young men’s application claiming that they were abused in the remand prison.
You may remember that four friends were detained in December 2006 in Nizhny Novgorod on suspicion of committing a grave crime – raping a minor. Although the young men had an alibi, they were not released. According to the applicants, after the interrogation and examination officers of the Sormovsky district Directorate of the Interior beat them up in presence of the investigator. As a result of long-lasting tortures the young men wrote confessional statements at the investigator’s dictation.
After that the measure of restraint was selected, and the guys were placed in custody. According to the victims, in the remand prison the battery continued. Their cell-mates, people on remand, were battering them; apparently, they were performing the order of the remand prison administration. The cell-mates demanded that the young men should confess to various crimes committed on the territory of the Voskresensk district. They agreed to do so unable to withstand the pressure any longer. Later it turned out that the real culprit had been detained.
On 30 April 2008 the Sormovsky district court of Nizhny Novgorod found the young men innocent of all charges and acquitted them.
Later the Sormovsky district court of Nizhny Novgorod sustained the young men’s suit claiming compensation of material damage and lost profit. Each victim was awarded 250 000 rubles. The Finance Ministry filed a cassation appeal against that judgment. It will be tried by the Nizhny Novgorod regional court.
Yesterday the Sovietsky district court conducted a hearing under the application of Polyashov, Snegov, Zhultsov and Moslov about tortures in the remand prison. The court discussed another refusal to open a criminal case. Before that the investigation authorities had issued 12 refusals to start criminal proceedings, each time the unlawful and unmotivated refusals were cancelled, but the errors were not made good. Yesterday, the Investigation Committee acknowledged its errors itself and cancelled the refusal as unlawful prior to the court’s decision.
Now, a year and a half after the incident, another check is to be carried out. However, we can hardly hope that remand prison officers in charge of tortures will be punished. Most likely, it is only the European Court that can put the things right.