In Orenburg, the Ministry of Internal Affairs apologized for the unlawful arrest of a participant in a 2021 rally in support of Mr. Navalny


07 June 2023


The police had been refusing to bring apologies to Vladimir Savchenko for more than a year. The lawyers of the Crew Against Torture referred the case to the court that subsequently ordered the head of the Orenburg police to comply with the legislation.

On 31 January 2021, rallies were held in Russia in support of politician Aleksey Navalny. In Orenburg, according to various estimates, from 60 to 300 people took part in the relevant event. About 16 individuals were arrested, among them was Vladimir Savchenko. He applied to the CAT, claiming that unidentified men in civilian clothes grabbed him by the neck, and after Mr. Savchenko shouted «Russia will be free!», they hit him in the stomach area. Later, the authorities charged Vladimir with administrative offenses: for disobedience to the lawful demands of police officers (part 1 of Article 19.3 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses) and for violation of the established procedure for organizing or holding a rally (part 5 of Article 20.2 of the same Code). Vladimir was brought before the Leninskiy district court of Orenburg, which terminated the proceedings under the article on disobedience to the lawful demands of police officers due to the lack of an offense. Under the second article, Mr. Savchenko was found guilty of violating the established procedure for holding a rally, but later the regional court terminated this set of proceedings as well.

Thus, Vladimir Savchenko was found not guilty, and the court ruled that mental suffering was caused to him by the unlawful actions of the police, as he spent more than a day in the temporary detention facility («the IVS»).

In October 2021, the Leninskiy district court of Orenburg ordered the Ministry of Internal Affairs to pay compensation to Mr. Savchenko in the amount of 5 000 rubles. Besides, according to the law «On the police», the law-enforcement authorities were to bring official apologies to the victim. However, the head of the Intermunicipal police department «Orenburgskoye», Oleg Chernyavskiy, refused to apologize. In his written response, he indicated that «there are no grounds for bringing apologies to V. Savchenko». The CAT lawyers challenged that refusal before the court that subsequently ordered Mr. Chernyavskiy to apologize. Nevertheless, even after the court’s ruling, Mr. Savchenko did not receive any letter of apology.

In February 2023, the human rights defenders applied to the head of the regional Ministry of Internal Affairs, Aleksey Kampf, with a petition to execute the court judgment, as well as to conduct an internal inquiry against Mr. Chernyavskiy. It was only on 2 June 2023 that the CAT lawyers received an official answer and found out that in December 2022 such inquiry was carried out, but Oleg Chernyavskiy still was never brought to any disciplinary responsibility. However, Mr. Savchenko finally received a letter of apology from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

«For the first time in 15 years in the practice of our branch, the police refused to apologize to a citizen whose rights they had violated. We were also surprised that Oleg Chernyavskiy was not brought to disciplinary responsibility, as the authorities supposedly did not find any grounds for such a measure. We do not agree with this and will apply to the regional police department to challenge this decision.»

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