On 1 October 2013 the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court delivered an appellate decision modifying the judgment by the first instance court, and awarded Pavel Guryanov, a man who became victim to torture in the police, compensation of moral damage in the amount of 300 thousand rubles. In practice of the Committee Against Torture this is a rare occurrence indeed, that a domestic court has satisfied our applicant’s claim in full.
(Photo: Pavel Guryanov)
Previously, on 28 April 2012 the Moskovskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod found a former Nizhny Novgorod police major Sergey Kuzmenkov guilty of exceeding official powers with use of violence and special devices, and sentenced him to 3.5 years in prison.
The court made the following legal findings. Officer Kuzmenkov, being in a state of alcoholic inebriation, lost his murse, with his police officer ID in it, in one of bars in Moskovskiy district of Nizhny Novgorod city. Having discovered the loss, he came to the conclusion that the murse with his documents had been stolen, and suspected Pavel Guryanov of the offense. The policeman decided to check if Pavel had been implicated in the theft without opening any official proceedings. The formal investigation of the torture complaint established the same facts with the public investigation conducted by the Committee Against Torture. On 1 July 2010 policemen arrived at Pavel Guryanov’s home to detain him. The man was taken to police department № 4 under Nizhny Novgorod Directorate of the Interior, where he was severely beaten. Moreover, policemen used the torture called «envelope» against their victim. In the aftermath Pavel temporary lost the use of his legs, and for several days could not move around without being assisted. At hospital he was diagnosed with post-traumatic compression-ischemic neuropathy in the lower extremities.
On 14 January 2013 a judge of the Nizhegorodskiy District Court Natalia Khokhlova partially satisfied Pavel’s claim lodged against the Russian Federation for compensation of moral damage inflicted by torture in the police. The court then found Pavel’s demand for 300 thousand rubles to be excessive and reduced it by a factor of ten.
Lawyers of the Committee Against Torture appealed against this decision on the grounds that it did not comply not only with the principle of justice, but also with the relevant case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.
Evgeniy Chilikov, the lawyer of the Committee Against Torture who represents Pavel Guryanov’s interests, comments on today’s court decision as follows: «We are satisfied with the size of the awarded compensation which corresponds to case-law of the European Court. We are also happy with the fact that it was our domestic court that rendered the decision. Officer Kuzmenkov’s acts have undermined the authority of the police and the State, so we we were hoping for a just compensation awarded on the national level, for Russia not to become once again known as a country were compensation for torture in the police equals to one month salary of a low-ranking police officer».