On 22 January 2019, the Yanaulsky District Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan will start to re-examine the criminal case with regard to Head of Criminal Investigations of the Neftekamsk police Ilvir Sagitov and his subordinate, Senior Investigative Officer Radim Khairullin, who are charged with tortures of apprehended Vener Mardamshin.
Previously, the Neftekamsky City Court acquitted the police officers; however, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan quashed the verdict of not guilty and sent the case for new examination.
As we have previously reported, on 22 November 2016, Vener Mardamshin applied to the Committee for the Prevention of Tortures asking for legal assistance. He said that on 10 November 2016 he was captured by four men; they handcuffed his hands, put a plastic bag on his head, pushed into the car and drove him away in the unknown direction. According to Vener, it turned out later that those were the policemen who took him to the local police department. After that they started beating him using truncheons and an electric shocker forcing him to confess to kidnapping of a woman. But the policemen’s attempts to get a confession to the committed crime from Vener were unsuccessful and they released him after taking an explanatory statement from him where he stated that he had been drinking alcohol with friends and had no claims to the policemen.
According to Mardamshin, an acquaintance of him helped him to get home. Vener’s wife called an ambulance, and the man was taken to the hospital in Neftekamsk, where he was receiving treatment until 21 November, and then was transferred to the hospital of Ufa. Totally, Mardamshin spent twenty seven days receiving hospital treatment. The doctors of Neftekamsk hospital registered the following diagnosis in the discharge summary of the sick person: “Concomitant injury, closed craniocerebral injury. Brain concussion. Concussion of cervical vertebrae. Closed compression fracture of the body of vertebra L1. Closed (old?) fracture of L1 spine vertebra on the right. Concussion of the left side of the pelvis. Both kidneys contusion. Gross hematuria. Numerous concussions, bruises, scratch marks and pinpoint wounds of the soft tissues of the head, body, upper and lower limbs. Post-traumatic ischemic neuropathy of radial nerve of the left forearm. Post-traumatic ischemic neuropathy of the fibular nerve of the left lower leg”.
On 28 December 2016, the first person accused of the crime under items “a, b” of Part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation («abuse of office using violence and special equipment») appeared in this case – Head of the Criminal Investigation of the Neftekamsk police Ilvir Sagitov. At the present time he is in custody at the Detention Facility.
On 25 July 2017 his subordinate became the second accused under the same article – Senior Investigative Officer of the Department for Crimes Against Property of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Department of the Interior for Neftekamsk Radim Khairullin. Travel restrictions were imposed upon him until the verdict was passed.
On 20 September 2017 investigators of the major cases department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Republic of Bashkortostan completed investigating this criminal case. After the indictment was approved by First Deputy Prosecutor of the Republic Oleg Gorbunov, it was sent to the Neftekasmsky City Court for examination on its merits.
As lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Evgeny Litvinov pointed out, the investigation did not leave the illegal actions of other police officers unattended – the materials of the criminal case against them were severed.
Examination of the criminal case against Ilvir Sagitov and Radim Khairullin started on 1 November 2017 at the Neftekamsky City Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan. In the framework of judicial investigation 15 court hearings were conducted, during which about 40 witnesses were questioned. In the course of judicial investigation the defendants did not acknowledge their guilt.
In the course of discussions, State Prosecutor Aleksandra Malikova deemed that the guilt of the defendants in the charged crimes is proven and asked the court to sentence Sagitov to six years prison term and Khairullin – to four and a half years.
Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Evgeny Litvinov, taking into account the stance of the victim, asked the court to sentence the defendants to maximum possible prison term for this charge.
In their last statement neither of the defendants acknowledged their guilt, repeating the arguments voiced previously during discussions, that they did not torture Mardamshin and did not see him on that day at all. With regard to this, they asked the court to pass a verdict of not guilty.
On 4 June 2018, the judge of the Neftekamsky City Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan Ibgrabim Dautov declared Ilvir Sagitov and Radim Khairullin to be not involved in the commitment of the incriminated crime.
The court established that Vener Mardamshin was indeed inflicted the bodily injuries indicated in the expert examinations. At the same time, the court deemed that non-involvement of the defendant police officers is confirmed by the evidence of their relatives and colleagues as well as by their call details. With regard to this, judge Dautov passed a ruling to return the criminal case back to the Investigative Committee for resuming the investigation and identification of the culprits. Ilvir Sagitov was released in the court room, travel restrictions were lifted from Radim Khairullin.
State Prosecutor, human rights defenders and defense lawyer of Vener Mardamshin did not agree with the verdict of not guilty and appealed against it at the appeals instance, considering that the guilt of the defendants was fully proven and the court of the first instance passed the ruling wrongly interpreting the prosecution evidence.
On 4 September, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan reviewed the appellate appeals of all the parties of the prosecution and passed a ruling to quash the verdict of not guilty with regard to Ilvir Sagitov and Radim Khairullin and submit the criminal case for new examination to a different judge to the Neftekamsky City Court. In addition, the court imposed travel restrictions on the defendants.
On 12 October, human rights defenders were notified that the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan received a petition from the Acting Chairman of the Neftekamsky City Court Aleksandr Akulov requesting to change the territorial jurisdiction of the torture case, as the defendants for a long time were officers of the Neftekamsky Criminal Investigations, with regard to this they constantly interacted with judges of the Neftekamsky City Court on work related issues during examination of criminal, administrative and civil cases. In addition, it was pointed out in the petition, that the repeated examination of the criminal case in Neftekamsk may cast doubt on impartiality and objectivity of the actions of any of the judges of the Neftekamsky City Court.
On 16 October, this petition was examined at the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan. The police officers and their defense lawyers were against the changing of jurisdiction of the criminal case examination, deeming that there was no ground for that. The victim and his representatives supported the petition, having reminded that three rulings were passed at the Neftekamsky City Court in the framework of Vener Mardamshin torture case (including the verdict of not guilty with regard to the police officers), which were subsequently quashed by the superior instance. The prosecutor also asked the court to satisfy this petition.
As a result, the court passed a ruling to change the territorial jurisdiction of examination of this criminal case and submitting it to the Yanaulsky District Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan.