In the case related to the death of a prisoner in a Nizhny Novgorod correctional colony, three witnesses changed their testimony in court. Their statements refute the prosecution's version of events


11 January 2024


In 2015, Nina Markova applied to lawyers for legal aid. She claimed that her brother, Aleksandr Kulemin, had died in the correctional colony No. 14. As follows from the expert’s report, the man had several broken ribs and numerous bruises on his body. Another prisoner, Mr. Sarbayev, was accused of Aleksandr’s death, but a number of witnesses indicate that the man is not guilty.

The colony No. 14 (the village of Sukhobezvodnoye, Nizhny Novgorod region) became notorious due to the large number of complaints of ill-treatment, torture and sexual assault. Aleksandr Kulemin was sent there to serve his sentence in October 2014, and already in November his sister Nina received a telegram about his death. A relevant criminal case was opened in 2015; the Investigative Committee suspended the investigation several times and only resumed it in 2021.

For several years, the investigators could not identify the alleged suspects in Mr. Kulemin’s death. However, later the accused was “found”: Aleksandr was allegedly beaten by prisoner Roman Sarbayev (that man collaborated with the management of the colony). This version appeared immediately after Mr. Sarbayev’s death in August 2020. According to the investigators, Roman hit Mr. Kulemin numerous times, including his head; these blows caused Aleksandr’s death. Roman’s aunt does not agree with this version of events, as she believes that her nephew was «appointed» guilty in order to rapidly complete the investigation. The case is currently being considered by the Semenovskiy District Court of the Nizhny Novgorod region.

On 9 January 2024, Denis K. gave his witness testimony before the court. Earlier, he had indicated that Mr. Sarbayev took Mr. Kulemin to an office and beat him there. However, during the latest hearing, Denis revealed that he was in the smoking room when he heard noise in the barrack and went there. Denis claimed that Mr. Kulemin was lying on the floor, Mr. Sarbayev took him to the office, and five minutes later Aleksandr was taken away in handcuffs by prison guards.

Two other witnesses gave similar testimony. They confirmed that on the day of his death, Aleksandr Kulemin had a conflict with other prisoners in the barrack’s premises early in the morning. Mr. Kulemin was tied up and handed over to the colony staff  — and none of the witnesses saw Mr. Kulemin again, as his body was found in the SHIZO cell almost a day later. No one knows what happened to Aleksandr all this time. The prisoners learned of Aleksandr’s death in the evening of the next day.

The lawyers who represent the interests of Nina Markova believe that the investigators wanted to rapidly close the case related to Mr. Kulemin’s death, which is why the indictment did not include any testimony corroborating Mr. Sarbayev’s innocence. However, the lawyers managed to find witnesses who refuted the prosecution’s version of events in court.

The representative of Nina Markova indicates the following: «Our current task is to return the case to the Investigative Committee in order to identify both the direct perpetrator of the crime and other individuals involved in Mr. Kulemin’s death. However, we must understand that it was the colony’s management that built this torture conveyor there, and its staff should also be held accountable, since they knew about all these cases of violence. And in the case of Mr. Kulemin, they may even have tried to hide traces of the crime

Besides, in the materials of the criminal case there are medical documents, according to which the time of Mr. Kulemin’s death differs from the time when he was allegedly beaten by Mr. Sarbayev. The investigators insist that Aleksandr had received fatal injuries in the early morning of 15 November 2014, but the expert’s report states that this happened on the night of 15-16 November.

The next hearing is scheduled for 8 February, as the District Court will continue to hear witnesses from among the prisoners of the colony No. 14.

Подтвердите, что вам есть 18 лет