In Orenburg region, authorities open new criminal investigations of police torture


14 May 2014

Lawyers with the Orenburg regional branch of the Committee Against Torture report that two more criminal investigations into torture allegations have been initiated. They are based on complaints filed against officers of Dzerzhinsky District Department of the Interior (ROVD) of Orenburg city by victims, who applied to human rights defenders for legal assistance. This refers to what happened to Maxim Nimatov, Vyacheslav Sadovskiy and Anton Ferapontov in 2008, and mister Z. in 2011. Previously, on 7 April 2014 lawyers with the Committee Against Torture lodged applications in these cases with the European Court of Human Rights, complaining about ineffective investigation at the national level.

We have already reported on the situation of three friends: Maxim Nimatov, Vyacheslav Sadovskiy and Anton Ferapontov. According to the young men, In the evening of August 25 they were apprehended and taken to the Dzerzhinskiy ROVD of Orenburg city, where they were subjected to severe torture. For the whole night police officers were trying to obtain confession statements from them, and in the morning released their victims without brining any official charges. The injuries sustained were then confirmed by medical reports; numerous witnesses stated either to have seen the guys in good health before the detention, or to have seen them injured and bleeding when leaving the police department. Nevertheless, during these five years no effective investigation has been conducted. The investigative authorities issued seventeen refusals to investigate, which were subsequently appealed against by lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, and quashed as unlawful and unfounded.

In 2011 mister Z. had the bad luck to find himself in the same department. According to the man, he was kidnapped in the street by men he had never seen before (who turned out to be police officers), and taken to the department. There the policemen were beating him severely and strangling him with a plastic bag over his head. The officers wanted him to confess to a cell phone theft. Mr Z. was subsequently examined by doctors, had his injuries recorded, and identified two of the four torturers. Nevertheless, during two years and a half that followed criminal proceedings were not initiated. Investigators repeatedly issued identical refusals to investigate, changing only the date of issue. There were no less than eleven decisions not to open criminal proceedings, which were subsequently appealed against by human rights defenders.

«It seems to me that senior officers of the Investigative Committee have at last paid their attention to all the cases, in which investigators of Orenburg region sabotage investigation into allegations against law enforcement officers», says the Head of the Orenburg regional branch of the Interregional NGO «Committee Against Torture», Timur Rakhmatulin. «Not long ago we had a meeting with Colonel Justice Aleksandr Shegolikhin, head of the special commission formed by the Central Administration of Investigative Committee. He assured us that they had conducted a serious check in the region, and all the investigators and superiors responsible for each and every indicated violation had faced disciplinary action. Mr Shegolikhin as well promised that all the situations we had been trying to attract attention to had been investigated thoroughly, and would be monitored closely. I hope that local investigators will at last carry out adequate investigations in all the criminal proceedings that have been started. Hopefully, courts of the Russian Federation will deliver just sentences for all responsible police officers and other state officials, before the European Court of Human Rights once again establishes instances of torture and declares ineffectiveness of Russian investigative authorities».

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