The Investigative Committee investigators dismissed the claims to open criminal cases with regard to applications of four residents of Orenburg who accuse law-enforcement officers of applying violence against them during the protest rally of 31 January of this year. In addition, all four complained that after they were taken to the police department, they were groundlessly put in the cells for administratively detained, for a long time access of lawyer was not allowed, means of communication were seized. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture will insist that criminal cases are opened with regard to Orenburg residents’ complaints.
As we have previously reported, after the protest rally that took place in Orenburg on 31 January 2021, four citizens applied to the Committee Against Torture with claims to carry out a public investigation and offer a legal support. One of them, lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin, participating in the event as an observer. All the applicants claim that physical violence was illegally applied against them by the people dressed in civilian clothes without insignia.
Timur Rakhmatulin said that during the event two men in civilian clothes seized him and, without introducing themselves, brought them to the van where the police officers were standing. There they started to push him inside the van, and one of the men in civilian clothes hit him in the groin: “I started to demand that they introduced themselves and explained to me why they were using force against me. I started to thrust my feet and arms against the doorway of the van, after which the man in civilian clothes on the right of me hit me in the groin. The hit was rather strong, that is why I screamed with pain”.
Vladimir Savchenkoalso reported violence applied against him by a man in civilian clothes: “In some moment, when they just caught me, I shouted “Russia will be free!”, in response to which I received a hit in the solar plexus, due to which I fell silent and shrank into oneself. The hit was made by that man in a gray jacket and a mask who seized me by the neck. After that blow I felt pain in my solar plexus for several hours, however, no bodily injuries developed”.
Mikhail Perekhozhevtold that he was brutally apprehended by the police officers, and a man in civilian clothes hit him twice: “At some moment, some people in civilian clothes ran up to me and to the police officers, at first I did not realize who they were, but then I received a blow from the right in the liver area, and a second later – a blow from the left at the hypochondriac region. I looked at the person who gave me these two blows. He had black gloves on, I realized that these were not common gloves but the ones the police officers or OMON use”.
Dmitry Teleshenkocomplained that one of the men who was apprehending Vladimir Savchenko, hit him in the face.
After the apprehension, all the applicants were taken to Police Department No.1 of Orenburg were for every one protocols were drawn with regard to the administrative violation under part 1 Article 19.3 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation (“disobedience to a legal demand of a police officer”) and part 5, Article 20.2 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation (“Violation of the established procedure of organizing or holding the meeting, rally, demonstration, march or picketing”). All four were detained for 48 hours and put to the special detention facility.
The applicants also told about the violations of the conditions of detention at the police department, when the apprehended were groundlessly taken to the cell for administratively detained, were deprived of food for several hours and no parcels were accepted from relatives and friends, lawyers were not allowed to see the apprehended, and the documents were drawn with numerous violations.
On 1 and 2 February, the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg dismissed the cases of the apprehended with regard to disobedience to lawful demands of the police officers, as it did not find any element of crime in the actions of the apprehended.
“The judicial examination was very thorough: Special Police Force officers, a police officer who was on duty at the police van, as well as the police officers who drew up the reports on the apprehended, were questioned – none of them explained which legal requirement by which law-enforcement officer was presented to the apprehended and at what moment. None of the questioned could explained who were the people in the civilian clothes performing the apprehension, to which department they belonged, –lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin comments. – Even a Special Police Force officer who was questioned in court told us that he did not perform the actual apprehension and could not identify the persons performing apprehensions by their faces on the video. We shall insist that the investigative authorities establish the identify of these people, unknown to anyone, who illegally used force against us”.
In February, human rights defenders applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report on behalf of four applicants.
On 12 March, investigator with the Investigative Department for the Southern Administrative District of Orenburg of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region Anvar Akhmedov dismissed the claim to open a criminal case with regard to complaint filed by Timur Rakhmatulin against the actions of the law-enforcement officers during apprehension, and on 19 March the investigator dismissed the claim to open a criminal case with regard to a similar complaint submitted by Mikhail Perekhozhev.
On 22 March, investigator of the same investigative department Danil Dmitriyev dismissed claims to open criminal cases with regard to applications filed by Vladimir Savchenko and Dmitry Teleshenko.
Today, human rights defenders received copies of these rulings.
“If previously we could not claim that unknown persons in civilian clothes who apprehended citizens, were law-enforcement officers, now the court established that they indeed were law-enforcement officers, but not identified till now. The court also established that the applicants did not perform any actions which could justify brutal actions of the law-enforcement officers. We shall hand over the court rulings, as well as the materials provided to the court by the police, to the investigators of the Investigative Committee, and, definitely, we shall insist that the criminal cases are opened,”– head of the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture Sergey Babinets comments.