In March 2007 the Yoshkar-Ola Human Rights NGO Man and Law received an application from Tamara Kuklina, a local citizen. She told the story how she, having been tired of struggling with the administration of a local housing and communal service, had many times complained with the prosecutor’s offices of Yoshkar-Ola and the Republic of Mari-El and also with the city’s authorities.
Tamara Kuklina was sure that the prosecution service safeguards the law and protects citizens’ rights. That is why on 11 October 2006 she applied to deputy prosecutor of Yoshkar-Ola City S.A. Shepelev in order to get a permission to install gas equipment in her flat.
But here she came across another violation of the law. According to Ms. Kuklina, the deputy prosecutor insulted her and required her to leave the prosecutor’s office in order that she did not distract such a high-standing official with different trifles, unworthy of his attention. Still Tamara Kuklina decided to draw the attention of the very busy prosecutor to her problem and was insisting on getting the permission. In response to such persistence the deputy prosecutor called for a detail of police which at once detained the disturber of the prosecutor’s peace and brought her to the central office of the Yoshkar-Ola City Police Station (UVD).
“…Mr. Shepelev ordered the policemen to throw me out of the room, because I hindered him from his work and to receive citizens, -Tamara Kuklina says.– They pulled me out of the room in a rough manner and struck me with a rifle’s butt on my back. In the corridor the policemen put me against the wall with my arms up. I tried to break away, asked them to release me. The policemen were holding me by my hands and hitting me against the wall when Ms. L.I. Loschilova, a prosecution official, went out of Mr. Shepelev’s room. She started insulting me with indecent words and then once kicked me with her knee in my liver area and two times struck me with her fist in the pancreas area what inflicted severe pain on me, at the same time she continued insulting me…”.
In the police station she submitted her explanations and received a prescription for a forensic medical examination. After that Tamara Kuklina went to a trauma center where she was examined and her bodily injuries were registered.
Ms. Kuklina lodged a complaint with the prosecutor’s office requiring it to open a criminal case against the policemen and prosecution officials who ill-treated her. The prosecution service carried out brief inquiry into the matter and refused her to initiate criminal proceedings.
Being unable to deal with the offenders on her own, in the middle of March 2007 Tamara Kuklina applied to the Investigation Department of the Yoshkar-Ola Human Rights NGO Man and Law. This department had been established as result of joint project of Mari-El human rights defenders and the NN Committee Against Torture. It specializes in unofficial (public) investigations of human rights violations by law enforcement agencies and grants legal aid.
Dmitry Yalikov, an expert of the Investigation Department, examined the materials of the inquiry carried out by the prosecution service and concluded that it had been formalistic and the refusal to open a criminal case was unlawful. Dmitry Yalikov helped Ms. Kuklina to make up a complaint before a court and became her representative.
After the trials in courts of first and second instances, where representatives of the prosecution service tried to prove the purity of Mr. Shepelev and impeccable behavior of policemen, the Yoshkar-Ola City Court put an end to trials and ruled that the prosecutor’s decision was unlawful and ungrounded. The court also indicated to deficiencies in the so-called “inquiry” which had allegedly been carried out after Ms. Kuklina’s application.
In this connection we are highly concerned about the attitude of the Mari-El prosecution service to the fulfillment of its obligations to protect rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens. Ms. Kuklina applied to the prosecutor’s office for protection and justice but got a formalistic reply by way of the unlawful decision and an uncivil attitude in response. Whatever the case, human rights defenders continue their work under the case of Kuklina. Now they are making up a complaint to address it to the Prosecutor of the Republic of Mari-El in order to make the dishonest prosecution officials disciplinary liable for their actions.
It should be added that the application of Tamara Kuklina against the violation of Article 6 of the European Convention (Right to a fair trial) expressed in a lengthy non-execution of the court’s decision was registered by the European Court of Human Rights and in the future the Court will decide as to its admissibility.