The judge of the Avtozavodskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod has postponed till December 12 of this year hearing on the merits of the case concerning six police officers of Avtozavodskiy district criminal investigation department who are charged with several episodes of exceeding official powers and one criminal episode of home invasion which took place in 2012. The judge made this decision due to absence of one of the defendants’ lawyers due to illness.
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As we have previously reported, on March 27, 2012 the Nizhny Novgorod office of the Committee Against Torture received applications from Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov alleging they were subjected to unlawful violence by the police officers of Police Department No. 1 of Nizhny Novgorod Department of Interior.
It took over two and a half years for investigators of the Investigative Committee to bring this case to trial.
«Such prolonged official investigation is explained by a number of challenges that the Investigative Committee officers had to face, – emphasized a lawyer with INGO «Committee Against Torture» Aleksey Matasov, who represented the interests of the victims. – These challenges involve the whole group of the accused who took part in different episodes, and a large number of the witnesses, and aggressive actions of the central office of the regional Department of Interior, which resulted in dismissal of one of the investigators from the case work. Despite all this the investigators of the first section of Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for Nizhny Novgorod region have completed the preliminary investigation, having collected a considerable evidential basis. The indictment is over 1400 sheets».
From the very start the defendants took active measures for their defense and were putting pressure on the progress of investigation, for which different media and administrative resources were engaged.
Thus the defendants succeeded in dismissal from the case work of investigator Yevgeny Khrokalo, who initiated the investigation. However later on the case materials were transferred to the regional department of the Investigative Committee and the investigation team comprising of three investigators was established. Its head Yury Yelantsev was able to stand firm against the pressure of the patrons of the police officers from Avtozavodskiy region, and the case was brought to trial.
As the head of the investigations department of Nizhniy Novgorod branch of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Dmitry Utukin, representing the interests of the victims, pointed out, the Avtozavodskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod has already conducted preliminary hearings, and it is expected that on 12 December 2014 the prosecutor will read out the indictment to the accused, after which the procedure of the evidence examination shall be established. The court hearing starts at 9.00.