In the Republic of Mariy El the Investigative Committee for three years has been ignoring the decision of the RF Authorized Representative at the ECHR on acknowledging the fact of torture


27 August 2015

Head of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russian Federation for the Republic of Mariy El Oleg Doronin notified the human rights defenders in writing about his intention not to open a criminal case based on the application of Suren Ovakimyan who accused the police officers of torture aiming at obtaining his confession. Oleg Doronin made this decision despite the acknowledgement of the fact of violation of the three articles of the European Convention in relation to Ovakimyan which was stated by Authorized Representative of RF at the European Court of Human Rights, Deputy Minister of Justice Georgy Matyushkin in 2012.

(Head of Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of RF for the Republic of Mary El Oleg Doronin, source of photo:

On 1 March 2008 Maria Ovakimyan applied to the Mariy El regional branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. She informed the human rights defenders that her brother Suren had been beaten up by police officers who were trying to obtain a confession statement from him.

According to Mr Ovakimyan, on 7 September 2007 police officers forcibly brought him out of Yoshkar-Ola and started to torture him. They occasionally made pauses to ask Suren if he was ready to agree to their «conditions» which they did not specify. Having failed to obtain the agreement, they attached electric wires to his fingers and turned on the current, and increased it every time they made contact. In the end, being unable to bear the torture any longer, Suren said he would agree to any conditions they had to offer. After that the man was taken to Yoshkar-Ola Prosecutor’s Office. There the man refused to give any statements – and was then brought to a temporary detention facility.

The applicant claims that the next day he was again taken to an investigator who informed the man that he was suspected of murder. Having refused to give a confession statement, the man again found himself outside the city. There he was over again beaten up and thrown into a pit. When the police officers began to strangle him with car towing ropes, Mr. Ovakimyan yielded and promised to sign the confession statement the officers wanted. During the interrogation in the Prosecutor’s Office Suren signed all the records he was offered – and was taken to custody.

All the injuries sustained by the applicant were recorded by a doctor. When Mr Ovakimyan first time arrived at the detention facility, medical personnel observed numerous swellings, haematomas and skin abrasions all over his body. On 9 September 2007 Suren underwent a medical inspection in the medical unit of investigative isolator № 12/1, where new injuries on his body were observed and recorded, including linear sarcothlasis of the red colour about 8 centimeters long on his neck in the laryngeal prominence area.

It must be noted that on 5 November 2008 court found Suren Ovakimyan guilty and sentenced him to 16 years of imprisonment.

In 2008 the Committee Against Torture Lawyers, having exhausted all domestic remedies available, lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights. The application was communicated to the Russian Government on 31 August 2011.

On 20 March 2012 Mr Georgiy Matyushkin, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights, signed the Memorandum acknowledging violations of Article 3 (Prohibition of torture), Article 5 (Right to liberty and security), and Article 13 (Right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms committed by Russian public authorities in respect of the applicant Suren Ovakimyan.

Despite this, criminal proceedings concerning unlawful use of violence against Mr Ovakimyan have not been initiated. For eight years the investigative authorities issued eight refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, which were declared illegal. Human right defenders just appealed against another investigators’ dismissal, however they received a letter from the regional head of local Investigative Committee: «The conclusions made in the ruling dismissing opening the criminal case are based on the collected materials and are motivated».

«Suren Ovakimyan’s rights which have been violated for over eight years, remain to present very little interest to the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Mariy El Republic.  Moreover, the Russian Federation already acknowledged the fact of torture applied to Ovakimyan, his illegal detention and inefficient investigation of incidents, however the Investigative Committee for some reason does not even going to make a notice of that. It remains to wait when the UBHR will pass a ruling of this case. We shall certainly continue assisting Suren at the national level, in the nearest future a complaint will be filed in response to the answer of the head of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Mariy El Republic», – comments lawyer of INGO «Committee Against Torture» Dmitry Yalikov.

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