Human rights defenders insist on exhumation of the body of the man who died at the Tuapse police department


06 September 2018

Investigators of the Investigative Committee started another check based on the fact of death of Sergey Rozhkov from Krasnodar Territory at the Tuapse police department. This became the result of the application addressed to the superiors of the Territorial Investigative Department, filed by the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, representing the interests of the relatives of the deceased. In the course of the additional check, apart from conducting a high-quality medical forensic examination, human rights defenders will be insisting on exhumation of Rozhkov’s body.

(Sergey Rozhkov, photo:

As we have previously reported, Larisa Azarova from Tuapse applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. In her application she asked to perform public investigation of the fact of the death of his grandson Sergey Rozhkov on 6 April of this year at the local police department.

From explanations of Larisa Azarova it follows that with regard to Rozhkov the investigative committee investigated a criminal case on the attempt of rape and that he was under travel restrictions. According to Azarova, the neighbor defamed her grandson due to conflict relationships between them. When in January 2018 the investigator decided to change the pre-trial restrictions from travel restrictions to taking into custody, Azarova insisted that the grandson left. He moved to Abkhazia, where he lived in a monastery.

In April Sergey Rozhkov was apprehended by law-enforcement bodies of Abhazia and handed over to Russian authorities. In the night from 5 to 6 April Rozhkov was delivered to the Tuapse police department. A Cossack from the local Cossack community was assigned to guard Rozhkov. According to the guard, at about 4 a.m. when he took Sergey out to a toilet, he complained of feeling unwell and fell on the ground. The ambulance team which arrived at the scene, established the fact of the death of Sergey.

According to medical forensic conclusion, the death of Sergey Rozhkov was caused by cardiopulmonary decompensation. In addition, he had bodily injuries in the form of “contusion of the hairy part of the head in the occipital region on the right, graze wounds on the nasal arch associated with an extravasation, subcutaneous hemorrhage in the occipital region on the right”. According to the expert, development of these bodily injuries is possible due to impact of a solid blunt object or due to a hit against thereof, including when falling from the height of one’s own height.

“According to the relatives of the deceased, Sergey never complained of heart problems, for the last several years he had an active and mobile mode of life, was living in a woody mountainous area, and maintained his own homesteading, bred chicken, goats and fish. That is why they doubted the official version of the events”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Roman Veretennikov comments.

The Investigative Committee conducted a check based on the fact of Rozhkov’s death, and, on 16 April of this year, refused to initiate criminal proceedings due to absence of a criminal act. Additional check resulted in the same refusal, passed on 26 July.

On 13 August, Larisa Azarova and lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Romanov, representing her interests, met with Deputy Head of Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for Krasnodar Territory Sergey Solntsev. In the course of the meeting, Romanov raised his claims against the official investigation. According to human rights defender, the investigator who conducted the check based on the fact of death, never explained Rozhkov’s bodily injuries, did not request or seized the records of video surveillance camera, did not question the detainees who were kept in the same cell with Rozhkov.
Yesterday, the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received an answer from Mr Solntsev, that the complaint of human rights defenders was satisfied, the previous refusal to initiate criminal proceedings was quashed and a new check was assigned.
“In the framework of the new check we will be insisting on conducting a new medical forensic examination, because when conducting the previous one, the expert was not warned about criminal responsibility for issuing a deliberately misleading conclusion,
 – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Roman Veretennikov emphasizes. – We will also insist on exhumation of Rozhkov’s body so that experts are able to establish the causes of his death”.

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