In Moscow, a woman spent the night in a «stinking cell». The police did not let her go home to get medicine needed after cancer surgery


08 September 2023


45-year-old Anna Shurygina was stopped by traffic police officers to check her ID. A conflict ensued between the woman and these officers. Anna claims that the men twisted her arms, handcuffed her and took her to the police station. Ms. Shurygina had repeatedly informed them that she had oncology and was on her way from the doctor after a medical procedure. However, she was left overnight at the police station.

On 17 August, Anna Shurygina was returning from the oncologist to her work. After surgery and radiation therapy, she had some complications. That day, she underwent a painful puncture and a bandage was applied; the woman says that she had severe pain in the area of her left shoulder and chest. Anna told the CAT lawyers that she had rented a car and was driving up to her place of work when she was stopped by traffic police officers. As Anna recalls, they did not introduce themselves, but asked her to show her ID. As Anna was finishing up her ride in that rental car, she asked the men to turn the corner to end her car sharing rental. As Anna claims, the men were not against that demand. According to Anna, she left her driving license with the police and did not plan to hide, but as soon as the woman drove away, the police car turned on its flashing lights and drove after her.

Anna recalls the following: «The policemen held the doors so I couldn’t lock the car. One of them grabbed me on the left side by my arms and shoulders, where the most vulnerable area of my body was. I tried to explain that I was coming from an oncologist

Subsequently, Anna found out that these officers were lieutenant Vakulinskiy and senior lieutenant Petrov. As Anna underlines, they prevented her from recording what was happening, grabbed her tightly by the arms, pushed her, and then handcuffed the woman and put her in a car with her hands confined behind her.

Ms. Shurygina was taken to the Ostankino district police station of Moscow. In the police report, the men indicated that she pushed a police officer.

In turn, Anna indicates the following: «I pushed Petrov away when he grabbed my left shoulder. My left breast was operated on because of breast cancer, and for protection purposes I could instinctively push the man away from the operated part.»

The woman recalls that the policemen fabricated a false administrative protocol against her, in which they indicated that she did not let a pedestrian pass, but the original reason for the stop was a simple ID check. Ms. Shurygina refused to sign that protocol and was left in the detention cell until the morning.

«I asked them to release me, explaining that I was taking antitumor medications, and even showed them the medics’ prescription. They rejected my demand to go home and fetch the medicine. Thus, I ended up spending the night in a stinking cell.»

The next morning, Ms. Shurygina was taken to the Ostankino district court, and the judge found her guilty of disobedience to police officers (Article 19.3 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses), imposing a fine of 4,000 rubles. The ruling states that Anna refused to provide her ID to the police, tried to escape and grabbed them by their uniforms.

On 19 August, Anna went to the trauma center, where she was diagnosed with joint damage and multiple bruises on her forearms and left shoulder. Ms. Shurygina reported to the doctors that the policemen had inflicted these injuries. From 19 to 24 August, Anna was on sick leave.

«I cried like a beluga all these days. I feel anxious when I see a traffic police car. I don’t want to use car sharing. I don’t want to see the dress I was wearing that day. I feel lost, broken and ill. I try to avoid the place where these officers might be on their duty.»

On 22 August, having received the relevant information from the trauma center, the local policeman texted her. Anna asked him to contact her later, but no one wrote or called her anymore.

The Crew Against Torture informs that the CAT lawyers have filed a petition with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, asking to conduct an internal investigation against officers Vakulinskiy and Petrov. The Investigative Committee refused to register Ms. Shurygina’s crime report, but this decision was immediately challenged by the lawyers to the prosecutor’s office. The human rights defenders cite the Law “On Police”, which obliges officers to provide first aid to a citizen who has been injured as a result of the use of physical force, and also to take measures to provide him or her with medical care as soon as possible. However, these two policemen even refused to take Anna to get the necessary medications, leaving her overnight at the police station.

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