«I still cannot tell my daughter that her father died. I don’t know how». Together with the CAT lawyers, a resident of Saint-Petersburg is trying to find out why her husband died after the apprehension and hospitalization


03 November 2022


29-year old Vladislav Shushmintsev returned home at six in the morning. The family does not know where he spent the night, however, having failed to find his keys, the man climbed the entrance roof overhang. In fear for her son, his mother called the emergency services. First came the police officers, and when he saw them, Vladislav jumped off the overhang and started to run away. According to the witnesses, the man was apprehended in one of the adjacent yards, but he was not beaten up. After the apprehension, Vladislav was picked up by the ambulance and taken to the hospital where he died. 

Mariya Sushmintseva applied to the lawyers with the Crew Against Torture in Saint-Petersburg. She told human rights defenders that her husband went to visit a friend of his on Saturday, October the 15th, and stayed there till 11 p.m. After that he, allegedly, went home to his mother. However, he reached her only by six in the morning. Having failed to find his keys, Shushmintsev started to shout and climb on the overhang. His mother called police, ambulance and fire rescue team. Several minutes later, a Patrol-Guard Service car arrived. When he saw the police officers, Shushmintsev jumped from the two-meter overhang and started to run. 

The man was detained in the adjacent yard, the incident witnesses told the victim’s family about it. The relatives managed to obtain the video records from the mobile phones, and one of them told Mariya that Shushmintsev was calling for help during apprehension. 

«He said he saw how my husband was handcuffed and tied to the fence (a fencing at the kids’ playground), wrapped around with scotch tape, ropes and belts. The police officer said that Vlad bit him and that he needed a scotch tape. Vladislav was screaming all the time, calling for help. He said something about Ukraine. Then all of a sudden he went silent»

Another witness claims to have seen one of the police officers standing on Vladislav with his feet. 

«He passed a remark to the police officer about it, he moved away. Ambulance arrived. Vlad was lying face down; he was put on a stretcher. He was shouting a lot, saying he was killed, and he was handcuffed»

The witnesses reported that the apprehension lasted long – one and half – two hours, but no force was applied against the man. The video records from the entrance video surveillance camera which Mariya provided to the CAT lawyers, showed Vladislav attempting to run away from the police officers. He stops, makes some active gestures with his arms, hits the car parked hearby, and pushes one of the officers. After that Vladislav was brought to the ground and handcuffed, because he offered resistance and attempted to stand up. The camera recorded that after the apprehension the police officers were not in a hurry to bring Shushmintsev in the car, but instead they do not allow him to stand up by pushing him and knocking him down. At some point, they pull Vladislav up and in response to his words they throw him over the fencing of the ground. Sometime later, the ambulance arrived, but it did not take Vladislav away immediately. The doctors were doing something to the man lying on the ground, then they put him on a stretcher and brought him inside the car which remained there for another 20 minutes or so. 

Vladislav was brought to the Yelizavetinskaya Hospital. Soon, the relatives were informed that the man was brought in the condition of the clinical death with a severe head injury and nose fracture. On 17 October, a day after hospitalization, Shushmintsev died. The cause of death was indicated as traumatic cerebral edema and haemorrhage. Vladislav was buried on 23 October. According to Mariya, she has not yet told her daughter that he died. 

«My daughter does not know yet that he died, I cannot tell this to her, I don’t know how to do it. I told her father went abroad to another country for work for a long time and there is no communication with him»

Shushmintseva’s wife submitted a crime report to the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for the Vyborg District and applied to the lawyers with the Crew Against Torture for legal assistance. We are conducting a public investigation to establish the circumstances of the incident. 

The comment of the CAT lawyer

«There is a lot which is unclear in this case. It is not known where Vladislav was during the night, in what condition he returned, why he started to run away. Based on what was provided to us by the relatives, I think that applying force by the police officers during apprehension could be ungrounded. After the man is apprehended and is not capable to offer any resistance, applying violence by the police officers is not acceptable. Apprehending law offenders is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior, but, regardless of the personality and condition of a citizen, the principles of legality, adequacy and necessiyty of applying force shall be observed. In case of Vladislav Shushmintsev (if we are basing on the video record), applying force could be inadequate in some moments. In addition, it is unknown why the man was not delivered to the police department immediately after apprehension but continued squabbling outside. In the present time, we are looking for more witnesses and trying to understand what was going on in the ambulance. From the provided video it is clear that the ambulance vehicle was shaking for several minutes, but what was going on there is unclear. It is also unclear why Shushmintsev was not taken to hospital immediately and who called the ambulance and why. Apart from that, Vladislav died from the head injury, but the video does not show the police officers hitting him in such a way that could lead to such an injury. The witnesses did not provide such information, either. In attempt to avoid groundless accusations of anyone, we are trying to find out who performed the actions led to Shushmintsev’s death – the police, the medics, or himself»

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