Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture initiated public investigation based on the fact of the death of Sergey Rozhkov from Krasnodar Territory at the District Department of the Interior of the Russian Federation for the Tuapsinsky District. The relatives of the deceased do not believe the official version of the events, according to which the man died due to cardiopulmonary decompensation, and human rights defenders point out that the checking of the circumstances of his death was performed very formally by the official investigation.
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 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.
“We consider this “refusal” to be illegal and ungrounded, – Roman Veretennikov emphasizes. – The investigator who conducted the check based on the fact of death did not explain how Rozhkov developed his bodily injuries. He did not request or seized the records of video surveillance cameras, did not question the detained who were kept in the same cell with Rozhkov. We will be appealing against this ruling of the investigator and insisting on conducting efficient check of the circumstances of Sergey Rozhkov’s death”.