Group rape at the police station and torture with electricity. The ECHR awarded 20 000 euros in compensation to each of two Nizhny Novgorod residents who never saw fair punishment for the state agents who had tortured them


15 January 2024


The European Court adopted follow up judgments in the cases of Olga Maslova and Sergey Lyapin. The ECHR found a violation of Article 3 of the Convention, as Russia did not conduct an effective investigation into the applicants’ complaints.

In November 1999, Olga Maslova was summoned for questioning as a witness to the Nizhny Novgorod police department, where, as Olga claims, she was beaten and raped by three prosecutors and a police officer. Ms. Maslova filed a crime report with the investigative authorities, subsequently a criminal case was opened, but it was repeatedly suspended. As a result of delays, the deadline for bringing the perpetrators to justice expired, and in Ms. Maslova’s case, not a single state agent was punished.

A resident of the Nizhny Novgorod region, Sergey Lyapin, was arrested in April 2008, when he was collecting scrap metal near one of the garages. He was taken to the police station, beaten, and then electrocuted until he lost consciousness. Doctors diagnosed the man with multiple injuries: a concussion, bruises, thermal burns on both hands. As in the case of Olga Maslova, the investigation was delayed; the lawyers, representing Sergey’s interests, received more than ten refusals to open a criminal case. By the time the case of Mr. Lyapin reached the domestic court, the statute of limitations for bringing the officers to criminal responsibility had expired. As a result, the court sentenced one policeman to three and a half years of suspended imprisonment, but he was still released from punishment.

Back in 2008 and in 2014, the Court underlined Russia’s ineffective investigation in the cases of Ms. Maslova and Mr. Lyapin. In a recent follow up judgment, the European judges found that the applicants continued to be victims of an ineffective investigation and awarded each of them 20 000 euros in compensation for non-pecuniary damage. Unfortunately, the applicants will not receive these sums, since the Russian Federation has withdrawn from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.

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