In Mari El court has obliged the Investigative Committee to investigate death of a convict


09 July 2013

On 5 June 2013 the Medvedevsk district court of the Mari El Republic in its judgment found that the failure to act of the Acting Deputy Head of Medvedevsk inter-district  Investigating Department of the Investigative Committee for the Mari El Republic, Ms. S. Pirogova, basing on death of a convict was unlawful, and ordered the investigative body do rectify the violation. The decision has not come into force yet.

(Photo: Valeriy Shadevskiy)

On 16 May 2013 Valentin Shadevskiy applied to the Mari El regional branch of the Committee Against Torture seeking legal assistance. His brother Valeriy died in the medical unit of Penal Colony no. 3 (FKU IK-3 UFSIN) of RF for the Republic of Mari El. According to the applicant, in June 2012 Valeriy talking over the phone with his mother complained of strong abdominal pain. Ultrasonography revealed chronic gastritis. In November 2012 Valeriy underwent surgery, but the pain remained.

In 2013, at the end of the winter, Valentin learned from his mother that his brother complained of a change in the size and shape of his liver and permanent abdominal pain; his skin was turning yellow. The man also complained about poor medical treatment he was receiving from the medical personnel of the Federal Penitentiary Service. On 1 April 2013 Valeriy’s relatives received a telegram informing them about his death in the Colony hospital. According to the telegram, his death was caused by stomach cancer with internal hemorrhage.

Following Valentin Shadevskiy’s application, the Committee Against Torture initiated a public investigation. Within the investigation lawyers of the Committee filed a criminal complaint with the Medvedevsk inter-district Investigating Department of the Investigative Committee for Mari El. They reported a crime committed by regional officials of the Federal Penitentiary Service. The human rights defenders discovered evidence of criminal offenses under Article 124 (failure to render aid to a sick person) and Article 293 (neglect of duty) of Russian Criminal Code.

On 11 June 2013 the Acting Deputy Head of the Medvedevsk Investigating Department Ms. S. Pirogova decided that there could be nothing better than to transfer the complaint to the Federal Penitentiary Service which the complaint was filed against. In violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure she suggested internal functional audit within the Service, instead of conducting preliminary check in compliance with the relevant criminal procedure.

The human rights defenders appealed against the lack of action before court which found that “the decision of 11 June 2013 made by the Acting Deputy Head of the Investigating Department doesn’t conform to the Code of Criminal Procedure”, and ordered the head of the investigative body to rectify the violation, which means to  accept and investigate the report in compliance with the relevant criminal procedure. It should be noted that the representative of the Medvedevsk Prosecutor’s Office, Mr. V.V. Polyakov, supported the arguments of CAT.

“This position of the Investigative Committee arouses indignation – to put it mildly. The IC possesses a vast scope of powers, nevertheless it neglected its legal duty to conduct an independent and timely check basing on report of a crime. Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights in its extensive jurisprudence has repeatedly noted the obligation of State to take all necessary measures to protect against a risk to life individuals in detention facilities, and to conduct an adequate and effective investigation into death of an individual. We hope that after this judgment the investigative bodies will at last remember their legal duties – and will conduct a careful investigation into the circumstances of Valeriy Shadevskiy’s death”, says a lawyer with the regional branch of the Committee Against Torture in Mari El Dmitriy Yalikov.

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