(Vyacheslav Sadovsky, Maksim Nimatov and Anton Ferapontov)
The Dzerzhinsky District Court of Orenburg started the examination of the criminal case against two criminal investigators Albert Akmanov and Vasiliy Zoubikhin, charged with committing the crime under items «а, b» part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF («Abuse of office with the use of special equipment»).
As we have previously reported, on 27 August 2008 Vyacheslav Sadovskiy, Maksim Nimatov and Anton Ferapontov applied to the Orenburg office of the Committee Against Torture. They reported to human rights defenders that on 25 August 2008 they were detained by the police, taken to the Dzerzhinskiy District Department of Internal Affairs where they were battered and brutally tortured. For the whole night police officers were trying to obtain confession statements from them related to a number of different crimes: from the robbery of the beer stand to murder of the police officer. According to the applicants, in addition to «standard» battery the police put gas masks on their heads and blew cigarette smoke into the tube, hung them by the hands and legs tied behind their backs, everything was accompanied by battery with truncheons.
The victims state that the tortures lasted till the morning of August 26. The detainees were deprived of sleep and if they started falling asleep they were hit on the head.
The victims’ parents and other relatives, having accidentally learned that their sons are detained by the police, kept the watch near the building of the Dzerzhinsky District Police Department. It is worth pointing out the fact that for a long time the police tried to convince them that their sons were not in the building of the District Police Department. In the evening the police allowed the lawyers to see the young men. Despite the fact that the police officers threatened them with harsher treatment in case they change their testimony, the young men in the presence of the lawyers reported that they were forced to incriminate themselves under torture and to sign some documents.
At about eleven p.m. of the next day the young men were released from custody in the police department. It is worth mentioning that no official charges were made against the three young men. Together with the lawyers and the victims’ relatives they first went to the first-aid station, and then to hospital, where the doctors registered all numerous bodily injuries.
All the three were diagnosed with hematomas, bruises, joints dislocations, one of them was diagnosed with cerebral concussion, Vyacheslav Sadovsky had a broken rib, and Anton Ferapontov had a broken nose.
On the next day all the three young men and their parents applied to the investigative authorities with a crime report. The victims also applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal help.
Despite the traumas, confirmed by medical documents and numerous testimonies of witnesses who saw the young men without any bodily injuries at the moment of their apprehension, and testimonies of witnesses who saw the beaten up victims covered in blood taken out from the building of the Dzerzhinsky District Police Department, the investigative authorities dragged their heels initiating the criminal case. The check of the crime report that should have been conducted within three days lasted over five and a half years. No less than seventeen times the Investigative Department issued refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, which were declared illegal after the Committee Against Torture lawyers’ complaints.
Human rights defenders also managed to prove in court that the young men apprehension was illegal and to collect from the state the compensation for moral damage incurred by this illegal action.
Taking into account the persistent reluctance of the investigative authorities to investigate this incident at the national level, in spring of 2014 the members of the Committee Against Torture had to lodge a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the applicants. Practically at the same time when it was lodged on 9 April 2014 the investigative authority initiated the criminal case based on the fact described above. The investigation of the case was assigned to the first department for investigation of major cases of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region.
«As a whole, after the criminal case initiating its investigation was performed rather quickly and effectively: at least, the investigators performed all the necessary investigative activities within a short period of time, forensic medical examinations were assigned, medical documents were requested. However, the fact that the crime investigation was initiated over five and a half years could not but have a negative impact on the quality of the investigation result. For example, the victims failed to identify all of the law-enforcement officers who tortured them. They identified only the most brutal ones who were more active than others in «solving» the crime. I would also point out that due to expiry of the period of limitation for prosecution the police officers in the presence of whom tortures were performed and who did not stop the illegal actions of their colleagues will walk free», – lawyer of the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin emphasizes.
«I will represent the interests of the victims in court, former head of the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture Vyacheslav Dyundin says. – Seven years ago my colleagues and me made every possible effort to collect and register all the information related to the crime that might be and in the end became the evidence in the case. I think that the state prosecutor will find it rather easy to prove the defendants’ guilt in court although they still deny their involvement in this crime».
Examination of the criminal case against the active police officers Albert Akmanov and Vasily Zoubikhin started on 17 December 2015, the next court session is scheduled for 29 December of this year.