In Nizhny Novgorod, court trial on the case of Aleksandr Novoselov abduction and torture commences


21 November 2018
Victim Aleksandr Novoselov and lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin

On 26 November 2018, the Nizhny Novgorod District Court starts to examine the merits of the criminal case with regard to two former police officers Evgeny Voronin and Roman Markeev, as well as businessman Oleg Sorokin, charged with Aleksandr Novoselov’s abduction and torture, committed in 2004. The victim’s interests will be represented by lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin.

Roman Markeev (in 2004 – senior investigative officer of Interdistrict Police Department on Serial and Contract Killings under the Chief Directorate of the Interior of the Nizhny Novgorod region) and Evgeny Voronin (in 2004 – head of this department), are charged with especially grave crimes under items “a, v, g” of Part 2 Article 126 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abduction by a group of persons”) and items “a, b” of part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office with the use of violence”).

Oleg Sorokin, a businessman from Nizhny Novgorod, is also involved in this case – he is charged of implication in this crime.

As we have previously reported, in May 2005 Aleksandr Novoselov applied to the Committee Against Torture seeking legal assistance. According to the applicant, at about 10 a.m. on 27 April 2004, on one of central squares of the city, he was stopped by several men he was not acquainted with. The men dragged him into a car, beat up and drove to a forest in Balakhninsky district of Nizhny Novgorod region. Shortly after, a white all-road car arrived there, and several men stepped out of it. One of them, as Mr Novoselov insists, looked very much like businessman Sorokin. The men were threatening Aleksandr with a gun and beating him, accusing him of an attempt to murder the businessman. Then a man in camouflage rammed a gun in the applicant’s mouth, making his lower lip bleed. Aleksandr once again denied any involvement in the attempt on the businessman’s life, and the men put a plastic bag over his head, cutting off the air supply. The man looking like Oleg Sorokin said: «Take an axe, let’s cut his leg off». Seeing an axe in one of the men’s hands, Aleksandr felt fear for his life and decided to sign the statements wanted from him. The men also made a video record of him giving confession statements.

The battery resulted in serious bodily injuries. Aleksandr was later diagnosed with contusion of the right kidney, a brain contusion, bruising of the soft tissue of the face and limbs, and others.

Mr Novoselov firstly filed complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office. The investigative body refused to initiate criminal proceedings against the police officers, assertedly basing this decision on the results of a pre-investigation inquiry. The reasoning was the following: Aleksandr Novoselov appeared to have been involved in an operative drill performed by the Directorate of the Interior for Nizhny Novgorod region servicemen, and one of them «was disguised as O.V. Sorokin».

Having failed to attain justice on the national level, on 24 December 2005 lawyers of the Committee Against Torture lodged the relevant application with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Aleksandr Novoselov.

On 28 November 2013 the ECHR delivered a ruling with regard to it. The Strasbourg judges established that Novoselov was tortured by the representatives of the state, and the investigation of this fact by the Prosecutor’s Office was “shallow” and “formalistic”. At that time, the European Court obliged Russia to pay 27 500 euro to Novoselov.

With regard to the passed ruling of the ECHR, on 12 November 2014 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation decided to resume the proceedings on Novoselov’s complaint due to new circumstances, however, the criminal case was initiated only on 2 August 2017.

According to the version of the investigative authorities, in 2004, Evgeny Voronin, willing to obtain information on persons involved in Oleg Sorokin assassination attempt, committed in 2004, developed a plan of psychological pressure on the person who might have had this information. During implementation of this plan, the police officers, including Evgeny Markeev, tracked down Aleksandr Novoselov, forced him in Sorokin’s car and brought to the forest where Sorokin applied violence against him as well as threatened him with applying more violence.  Having obtained the required information, they released the abducted.

In addition, in the framework of the consolidated criminal case, Oleg Sorokin is also charged with receiving a bribe in especially large amount (part 6 Article 290 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

On 19 and 20 November of this year, the Nizhny Novgorod District Court had a preliminary meeting on this criminal case.

“About twenty motions of the defendants’ defense team were examined. The court dismissed all of them, apart from examining the case materials. The examination of the criminal case on its merits starts at the Nizhny Novgorod District Court on 26 November. Start on 10 a.m.” – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin, representing the interests of Aleksandr Novoselov, reported.

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