After six months from the beginning of investigation, the criminal case of the battery of Aleksey Shlyapugin from the Nizhny Novgorod region by the police officers is dismissed – according to the investigative authorities, the police officers’ actions were legal. Before that, the investigators of the Investigative Committee illegally refused to initiate criminal proceedings for six times during two and half years. After familiarization with the materials of the criminal case, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture will be appealing against the investigator’s ruling on its dismissal.
As we have previously reported, Aleksey Shlyapugin from Pervoye Maya settlement of the Balakhninsky District of the Nizhny Novgorod region applied to human rights defenders for legal assistance. In his explanation to human rights defenders Aleksey reported that on 26 June 2017 about midday he came at his garage, where his fellow was, who was using this room for computer equipment repair. According to Shlyapugin, he was about to unload his tools in the garage and to go out to run errands, however, at this moment four men in civilian clothes attacked him.
– They brought me down on the floor in the garage shouting: “Lie down! Where are the drugs?” When they were bringing me down, one of the men hit and kicked me several times with hands against the body and my feet. There were no less than 20 blows, as I remember, and the battery lasted about two minutes, – Aleksey remembers.
According to Aleksey, after the battery ended, the police officers demanded that he confessed of manufacturing and sales of drugs, searched the garage and the car belonging to Shlyapugin, after that they delivered him to the Balakhninsky Police Department.
According to Shlyapugin, at the police department the police officers demanded that he confessed of manufacturing and selling drugs, but he refused to do it. After that he was given some documents to sign, out of which Shlyapugin filled only the report on administrative violation, where he put down a comment that he did not agree to it. Aleksey felt bad due to pain around ribs and asked the police officers to call the doctor; however, no-one reacted to his pleas. Then Shlyapugin was sent to a one-man cell, where he was kept till the morning.
On the next day, the justice of the peace convicted Aleksey to five days of arrest for his refusal to undergo medical examination. As Aleksey points out, the police officers started to insist on medical examination at the very time when the search was being conducted in his car and garage. Feeling concern that if he went for examination, the search would be conducted without his participation, Shlyapugin refused to undergo it until the investigative activity is not complete, and asked to do it later. However, the court sided with the police officers, and the citizen of the Pervoye Maya settlement was placed in the detention room in the Pravdinsk microdistrict.
After Aleksey left the detention room, he applied for medical assistance at the first-aid station of the Sormovsky District of Nizhny Novgorod. The doctors diagnosed him with the following bodily injuries: bruises, contusions on the body and thighs. Considering that the pain in the ribs area lingered, on 5 July Aleksey turned for medical assistance to the first-aid station of the Leninsky District of Nizhny Novgorod, where the doctors registered the fracture of the eighth rib from the left.
On 10 July 2017, Aleksey submitted a crime report to the Balakhninsky Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region, where he described all the circumstances of what happened to him. On 9 August, investigator of this department Evgeniya Murzayeva issued first refusal to initiate criminal proceedings.
In total, during the pre-investigative check, investigator Murzayeva issued six refusals, the last one is dated 11 April 2019.
This latest refusal to initiate criminal proceedings was appealed against by human rights defenders. On 26 February 2020, Deputy Head of the Balakhninsky Interdistrict Investigative Department Artem Tkach dismissed the sixth refusal by investigator Murzayeva as illegal and ruled to resume the check. The materials of the check were submitted to the Major Cases Investigation Department with the regional Investigative Department.
As early as on the next day, on 27 February 2020, investigator of this department Aleksandr Busarov initiated criminal proceedings against unidentified police officers under elements of crime as per item ‘a’ part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“abuse of office using violence”).
After six months of investigation, on 27 August 2020, investigator with the major cases department of the regional Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF Mikhail Blagov issued a ruling to suspend this criminal case due to absence of element of crime in the actions of the police officers.
Today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received a copy of this ruling.
“In the opinion of the investigative authorities, the evidence gathered during the investigation does not confirm Aleksey’s story on applying physical violence against him by the police officers in June 2017, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Yuliya Osipova comments. — However, we think that investigator Blagov did not do everything possible to establish the full picture of what happened. For example, a key witness, who was apprehended in the garage together with Aleksey Shlyapugin, was not questioned; face-to-face confrontations with other witnesses were not performed (and they suddenly changed their testimony). After familiarization with the materials of the criminal case, we shall certainly appeal against this ruling of the investigator”.
As we have previously reported, in 2019 the court collected fifteen thousand rubles from the Investigative Committee of Russia for the benefit of Shlyapugin as a compensation for moral damage inflicted by an ineffective check of his complaint about the police battery.