Yesterday, on 20 January 2015, the Avtozavodsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod continued examination of the criminal case against six police officers of Avtozavodsky District Police Department who are charged with several criminal episodes of exceeding official powers and one criminal episode of home invasion which happened in 2012. In the course of the court hearing one of the complainants, Nizami Gasanov, was questioned.
(Photo: Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov)
As we have previously reported, on March 27, 2012 the Nizhny Novgorod office of the Committee Against Torture received applications from Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov alleging they were subjected to unlawful violence by the police officers of Police Department no. 1 of Nizhny Novgorod Department of Interior.
It took the investigators of the Investigative Committee over two years to take it to court.
In the course of yesterday’s court hearing Nizami Gasanov was telling for over three hours how he had been detained almost for a day in the District Police Department, beaten up and forced to confess of car theft: «They brought me to some office. Alimov (criminal investigation department head – hereinafter notes by the Committee Against Torture) handcuffed me and made me sit on the floor, Nikolayev (authorized operations officer of criminal investigations department) gave Alimov a plastic bag, they put it over my head and started choking me. I began to suffocate, someone hit me on the head. Then I agreed to confess that I was involved in a car theft of the vehicle VAZ 2107. After that I was interrogated in the presence of a lawyer. I told him that I had been beaten up, but he only said that I had better confessed. I gave a truthful testimony to the investigator, I told him I was not involved in any car theft. After that Samsonov (police department deputy head) brought me to his office, grasped my hair and started to kick me. He told me: «I was not born yesterday, if you don’t take the blame upon yourself we will rape you». After that I had to sign the full confession which the police officers drew up for me».
It should be noted that the criminal prosecution of both Nizami Gasanov and the second complainant Elshan Zamanov was withdrawn by the Ministry of Interior investigators due to their noninvolvement in committing the crime.
After the questions of the prosecutor and the complainants’ representatives the defendants and their defense attorneys used their right to question Gasanov. Police officers kept bringing the court’s attention to the personality of the defendant, and their questions related mainly to the items which were recovered from Nizami Gasanov on that evening. They also asked questions concerning the connections of the complainant with the criminal world. Judge Aleksandr Pakhomov even had to dismiss several questions of the defendants as not relating to the filed charges. He also reminded to the participants of the hearings that it was Gasanov who was a complainant and the representative material was being collected about the defendants.
In the end of the questioning Nizami Gasanov explained that he would prefer a harsh punishment for the accused since he was badly injured and was subjected to intense moral suffering due to humiliations by the police officers.
The head of the investigations department of Nizhny Novgorod branch of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Dmitry Utukin who represented the interests of the complainants commented: «Generally the examination of the case is going on rather smoothly. We see the professional work of the judge, who is competently guiding the proceedings. He did not let the questioning to be distracted from the charges, dismissing the questions of the police officers. As to the viewpoint of the defendants it is clear enough, they are trying to play good guys who struggle against crime».
During the next court hearing which is scheduled for 29 January at 9.30 a.m. the second claimant Elshan Zamanov will be questioned, who previously used to work at the same police department.