In Mari El, criminal investigation into ill-treatment of a disabled person transferred to the Investigative Committee


09 April 2014

Human rights defenders are informed that the case of Yoshkar-Ola citizen Vladimir Ott, who was allegedly beaten by police officers and private security guards, has been transferred for further investigation to the Yoshkar-Ola Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for the Republic of Mari El.

(Photo: Vladimir Ott)

On 20 January 2014 Yoshkar-Ola city resident Vladimir Ott applied to the local regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» and the human rights organization «Man and Law». The man complained that he had been beaten up by policemen and servicemen of a private security company.

According to Vladimir, in the evening of January 10, 2014 he left home to meet his mother from work. He was waiting for her near a local cafe, when a «Chevrolet Niva» with a «security» sign drove over. Two men in uniform stepped out and, without explaining themselves, started twisting his arms. Mr Ott tried his best to explain that he has disability status (group three according to Russian scale) due to his hearing and speech disorders, but that made no difference – the servicemen began hitting his legs, evidently in order to knock him down on the ground.

Mr Ott can remember that he manged to break free for a while, but was soon caught again. The servicemen were first beating him right there, and then dragged to a household products store to continue beating. Eventually a police car stopped nearby, and several police officers stepped out and pushed Vladimir into the back seat. One of the officers sat near Vladimir, twisted his arm, pushed his head down, and hit him several times on his knees. Vladimir did not know what was wanted from him, for he had dropped his hearing aid while being beaten in the street.

Mr Ott was brought to Police Department no. 3 (Zarechny District Department of the Interior for Yoshkar-Ola city). The young man maintains that he didn’t hear the police officers’ demands, and didn’t understand what they wanted from him. He was given a piece of paper, on which he wrote his name, date of birth and home phone number. Then he was photographed and taken to a room on the third floor. There a policeman gave him something to sign. Vladimir felt threatened, so he signed the paper. Eventually he was led out of the department, and he went home.

After that Vladimir’s mother accompanied him to a trauma center, where a doctor observed and recorded the following injuries: bruises on soft tissue of his head; cervical spine strain and contusion; bruises on the right shoulder, right hand and right thigh.

Following Mr Ott’s application, lawyers working with Mari El regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» together with their colleagues from the regional NGO «Man and Law» have initiated a public investigation. The human rights defenders have already been granted participation in investigative activities in the proceedings under Article 116 (2) of the Criminal Code (battery) as the victim’s representatives.

On 8 August the human rights defenders were informed that this criminal investigation had been transferred from the Inquiry Unit of Police Department no. 3 to the Yoshkar-Ola Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for the Republic of Mari El.

«We have already requested certain investigative steps aimed at obtaining evidence against the perpetrators. We have as well filed a request asking to change the charges against the guards from «battery» to «exceeding powers by private security companies’ agents». We are also determined to demand that criminal charges of exceeding official powers be brought against the police officers», says the Head of the Mari El regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» Dimitry Yalikov.

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