The Leninsky District Court of Orenburg continues examination of a criminal case against two former officers of extradepartmental security service, Aleksey Reshetilov and Konstantin Sinyagin, who are charged with committing a crime under Article 286 (3) (a), (b) of Russian Criminal Code (exceeding official powers with use of violence and special equipment). This week three meetings were held, during which witnesses were questioned.
(Photo: Questioning of forensic medical examiner Mikhail Bakunovich and police officer Aleksandr Titarenko)
As we have previously reported, on 11 April 2012 Aleksey Sukhov from the Orenburg region applied to the Orenburg branch of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» for legal assistance. He told the human rights defenders that on 29 August 2011 he returned home to Prigorodny settlement after driving school training. Not far from home he was stopped by two police officers who decided to search Aleksey. According to Sukhov, during the search he saw that the police officers were trying to plaint some marijuana on him – Aleksey started to express his indignation with the unlawful actions of the law-enforcement officers, trying to attract the attention of the passers-by. However, shouting did not help and the police officers severely beat the man up, after that they took him to the local cemetery, promising that they would «bury him right there».
After these threats Sukhov was taken to the police department and a criminal case was initiated against him under part 1 of Article 228 of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal purchase and storage of a large quantity of drug substance without the intention to sell). However, later on this criminal case was dismissed for absence of a criminal act.
As a result of «communication» with the police officers Aleksey Sukhov got bodily injuries in the form of closed craniocerebral injury, cerebral concussion, haematoma of soft tissues, a bruise in the eye area, subconjunctival hemorrhage of the left eye, scratch marks on the body.
Two days after the incident Aleksey applied to the Investigative Committee with a complaint. However, instead of the assistance and full-fledged crime report investigation for which he had hoped he actually faced sabotage, receiving nothing but refusals to initiate criminal proceedings.
It was decided to turn for legal support to the human rights defenders who got involved in the case in the capacity of Sukhov’s representatives. Later on, in February 2013, lawyers of the Committee Against Torture established in court that no check on Sukhov’s statement was performed since September 2012 at all. The court compelled the head of the investigative department for the Southern administrative district of Orenburg of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Orenburg region Yevgeny Karyakin to rectify the breach. However, he had not enforce court decision until the new application of human rights defenders to court in September 2013 when it was established that the previous court decision had not been enforced by the investigative authority for more than 7 months.
Thus, after a long period of lodging a complaint against the inaction of the investigative authority officers, Yevgeny Karyakin was relieved from his post, and in May 2014, at last, the criminal case based on Sukhov’s complaint, was initiated. Investigation of the case was assigned to investigator of the first department for major cases investigation of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Orenburg region Denis Khusainov. Only one and a half months after the criminal case was opened Mr.Khusainov declared Mr.Sukhov the affected party, despite the requirements of the Russian Criminal Code to formalize the status of the affected party immediately after the case opening. One of the first investigative actions conducted by Khusainov was questioning the victim’s representative – lawyer of the Committee Against Torture, and the questioning of the victim himself filled only four lines of text.
Only after the case was referred to investigator Dmitry Zelenin the situation changed: he conducted all necessary investigative activities, after which prosecutor of Leninsky region of Orenburg Aleksandr Fadeyev upheld the indictment with regards to two former police officers, and the case was submitted to court.
On 28 May of this year the first court hearing was held, in the course of which the schedule of court proceedings was determined – first three court sessions were scheduled for 16, 17, 18 June. The court accepted the procedure of evidence examination proposed by the public prosecutor: questioning of witnesses, questioning of victim Aleksey Sukhov, examination of documentary evidence, available for the case, questioning of the defendants.
Albina Mudarisova, representing the interests of Aleksey Sukhov, comments on the progress of the court proceedings: «For the past three days the court questioned seven witnesses, four of those are former colleagues of the defendants – Rskali Bekeshev, Ruslan Nigmatullin, Vyacheslav Daladov and Aleksandr Titarenko. It was not easy for the court to question the police officers – every police officer in the process of questioning referred to the fact that the all the events in question happened long ago and they remember little about that day. It was also quite obvious that they were afraid to say the wrong thing and thereby cause trouble for their bosses and former colleagues who were on the dock. Witnesses gave a positive answer to the question of the state prosecutor on whether there were instructions from the management to increase crime detection rate for crimes under 228 of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal purchase and storage of a large quantity of drug substance…). In case of the evidence provided by witness Sergey Svechnikov (Aleksey Sukhov’s driving instructor) his memory did not let him down, unlike the police officers’. Sergey remembered that day and said that Aleksey came to driving lessons in good mood, without any bodily injuries and signs of alcoholic or narcotic intoxication. Forensic medical examiner Mikhail Bakunovich and emergency paramedic Vasiliy Tserekh were also questioned, and they confirmed bodily injuries on Aleksey Sukhov. The court adjourned examination of this case for 6, 7 and 8 July of this year. The hearing starts at 10.00. The court plans to continue questioning the victim, witnesses and defendants, as well as to examine documentary evidence».