Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Nizhny Novgorod is investigating mass complaints of torture in the Vetluzhsky District


21 June 2018

Investigators of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region commenced investigation of six more complaints from the citizens of the Vetluzhsky District concerning the police torture. As we have previously reported, in March of this year a criminal case was opened based on the application of two citizens of this district with regard to abuse of office by the police officers.

(Bodily injuries of Pavel Yakushev, one of the victims)
In May 2017, Pavel Yakushev and Ivan Belov from Vetluga applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to them, on 25 April of last year, an acquaintance of theirs asked them to move a large-sized part of the tractor from the territory of the local sawmill (as it turned out later, this acquaintance of theirs intended to steal this tractor part).

Leaving the sawmill, the young men heard shouts addressed to them. In fear, Pavel and Ivan started to run.

“A man in civil clothes knocked me down and immediately started to hit and kick me”,
 – Ivan Belov described.

According to Ivan, he recognized the local criminal investigation officer: “He was beating me up for more than a minute, and then he raised me on my knees by the head and ears and forced me to go like that. At the same time he continued to hold me by the hair. On the way he found a thick wooden stick somewhere and hit me several times against my back”.

Then, according to Belov, the police officer, keeping holding him by the hair, forced him to go to the vehicle on his feet, after that he was forced to lie in the car trunk. This way he was transported to the Vetluga police department, where he was questioned concerning the fact of the car part theft, and then he was released.

Meanwhile, the other participant of the event, Pavel Yakushev, was also caught by one of the police officers. Seizing Pavel, the police officer called the assistance over the phone and several minutes later two more men in civil clothes came up to him. According to Pavel, they beat him up.
Then the detained was brought into GAZelle police vehicle and also taken to the police department. In the criminal investigation office the police officers started to force Pavel to tell about all the participants of the march for the tractor part and all the details of this event that he was aware of.

According to Pavel, this questioning was accompanied by the battery with the use of the expedient means: “One of the police officers took the writing desk drawer’s panel and shouted: “Your night just started!” He started to hit me with this panel against the head. Then he took one small plastic heater, and, having propelled it by its cord, hit me with it against my head”.

In the morning the man was released from the police department.

According to the expert’s conclusion, numerous bodily injuries were registered on Yakushev: two injuries in the parieto-occipital region on the left and in parietal region, a bruise and an extravasation of suprascapular area on the left, extravasations of the iliac region on the left, injury of the third finger of the left hand, injury of the right hand, abrasion of the left knee joint, hemorrhaging under the nail bed and into the soft tissues of the nail bone of the first finger of the right hand.

Ivan Belov was registered with a hematoma and a swell of the soft tissues in the eyelid area, a hematoma in the region of the earflap, a hematoma and a bruise in the area of the back. In addition, according to Ivan, after the police officer hit his face he developed problems with his eyesight. Ophthalmologist diagnosed him with rhegmatogenous detachment of the retina and epiretinal fibrosis.

The investigation and the court did not establish Yakushev and Belov’s involvement in the theft. They both participated in the court hearing in the capacity of witnesses. Only the initiator of the night march to the sawmill – he was declared guilty of an attempted theft and sentenced to two hundred and fifty hours of compulsory community service.

The victims applied to the Urensky Interdistrict Investigative Department back in April 2017, however, the criminal case was opened only a year after – on 3 March 2018 investigator for major cases of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region Aleksey Shoshin opened a criminal case under item “a” of Part 3, Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence”).

In February of this year, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture went to the Vetlyuzhsky District in order to check the reports of other cases of torture by local police officers. In the course of the public investigation six more citizens claimed to have been subjected to brutal treatment by the same police officers whom Yakushev and Belov identified.

Thus, according to Ruslan Moskvichev from Vetluga, who by the moment of the events he describes, was under 19, was detained in 2016 on suspicion of theft. During the apprehension the police officer hit him several times on his head, and after he was delivered to the Criminal Investigations premises in Vetluga, Ruslan was tied up and was tortured with electrical shocker.
Another citizen of Vetluga, Sergey Lizen, reported that in the very same room the police officers tied him up with a belt and threatened to apply electrical shocker. It did not go as far, though, the police officers only demanded to confess under threat of further tortures.

A citizen of one of the villages of the Vetlyuzhsky District, who asked not to publish his name, described in detail how the police officers hit him, tied his hands, fixing his body in unnatural pose (“envelope” torture) during a long period of time in the same very room, which is described by other citizens of Vetluga.

Explanations of these people, as well as others, who reported tortures in the Vetluga police, were handed over to Head of Regional Investigative Department Andrey Vinogradov.
In the present time this application is attached to the initiated criminal case on the abuse of office by the police officers, due to which the investigation plan was adjusted – Deputy Head of Regional Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee Pavel Oleynik reported to lawyers with the Committee Against Torture.
“The dwellers of the Vetluzhsky District questioned by us were detained by local police officers in different time, but all of them describe one and the same room, and very often – the very same torture instruments. Of course, their explanations also involve the same police officers, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Vladimir Smirnov comments. – And these are only the cases which became known to us. How many there were in total is yet to be found out”.

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