On 25 March 2013 the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Orenburg city delivered the sentence against Oleg Litvishko, an officer of police department no.3 in Orenburg. He was found guilty of criminal offenses under article 286 (3) (a) and (c) of the RF Criminal Code (exceeding official powers committed with the use of violence which led to grave consequences) and sentenced to 3-year prison term to be served in general regime (minimum security) penal colony. Lawyers with the INGO “Comittee Against Torture” representing the victim’s interests consider the sentence too mild, nonproportional to the gravity of the crime committed, and are going to appeal against it.
(Photo: Sergey Ivanov after his operation)
(Photo: Oleg Litvishko)
In March 2012 Orenburg citizen Sergey Ivanov applied to the Orenburg regional branch of the Committee Against Torture seeking help. The man told the human rights defenders that on 14 March 2012 he was battered severely by a policeman. Later Sergey underwent a surgery to have his spleen removed.
According to the man, that unfortunate evening he, together with his acquaintance, Nikolay Savilov, was walking home when a policeman, Oleg Litvishko, came over and asked for identification documents. Nikolay had his passport with him, but Sergey appeared to have left it home. At the policeman’s suggestion the two men agreed to go with him to Ivanov’s place to check the ID. Hardly had the police car started moving, the policeman took of his jacket and began beating the friends. After several hard blows Sergey fainted, and regained consciousness at police station already. He was placed into a cell to spend there about an hour complaining of abdominal pain, crying and asking for help. When ambulance was called for at last, it took the man to Pirogov City Clinical Hospital. Sergey Ivanov was diagnosed with splenic rupture, fractured rib and numerous local bruises. He was urgently operated on and had his injured spleen surgically removed.
Public investigation conducted by the Committee Against Torture lawyers confirmed the applicant’s complaints.
On 17 March 2012, following Sergey Ivanov’s application, criminal proceedings based on the fact of infliction of great bodily injury upon him were initiated. Further, the investigation established that the policeman Oleg Litvishko was implicated in the crime. Almost immediately after the events the perpetrator escaped from the region, so the investigator had to put him on the federal wanted list. Quite soon he was found in Moscow. On 29 March 2012 the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Orenburg city, granting request of the Investigative Committee, remanded the accused in custody.
The proceedings were referred to court in a year after they had been initiated. On 11 March 2013 a preliminary hearing was held. On 21 March 2013 hearing on the merits was over, and the Parties presented their closing arguments. In his final statement, the Prosecutor demanded 4-year prison term for the accused.
We should note that this is the first time in the work of the Orenburg regional branch of the CAT when an accused has pleaded guilty to all charges and expressed intention to compensate for the inflicted damage.
A lawyer working with the INGO «Committee Against Torture», Sergey Babinets, represents Sergey Ivanov’s interests. He commented on the news: «These court proceedings are unprecedented, at least in our practice. The defendant pleaded guilty at the very beginning. Former colleagues of the ex-policeman as well surprised us: a woman – inquiry officer of police department no.3, who was in the car when the incident happened, confirmed that officer Litvishko was beating the victims. Other witnesses testified against him too.
All these circumstances made the prosecutor’s opinion even more surprising. She asked for her «colleague» (as she called the defendant officer during the trial) almost the minimum term provided for the offense in question by Russian Criminal Code, 4 years in prison. In its turn the court, having examined the evidence and considered the parties’ submissions, found Mr Oleg Litvishko guilty and sentenced him to even milder term, 3 years in prison. We believe this decision to be unjust and ill-grounded, and we will certainly appeal against it».