Defendants Sergey Pavlov and Rinat Arslambayev, photo: https://56.мвд.рф/
In the Orenburg region, a defendant in the torture case, police officer Sergey Pavlov, after six months of judicial process suddenly recalled that he and judge Marat Asfandiyarov attended football practice, as well as drank together. Due to that he asked the judge to recuse himself. The court pondered over the submitted request for a long time, but in the end dismissed it and decided to resume the trial. According to the investigative authorities, in August 2019, Pavlov hit brothers Valiko Baygulov and Roman Chikviladze with electric shocker in the area of the genitals demanding that he confessed of theft of five thousand rubles, and district officer Arslambayev helped his colleague by holding the chair on which one of the apprehended was sitting.
As we have previously reported, on 15 August 2019, 21-year old Roman Chikviladze from Cherniy Otrog railroad station of the Saraktashskiy District of the Orenburg region applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance.
According to Roman, on 10 August, his 82-year old father accused him and his half-brother Valiko of stealing five thousand rubles. The brothers tried to free themselves from an accusation and reported that they did not take the money from their father. Then the father called the police. The police officer arrived in about fifteen minutes, roughly at 10 p.m., and suggested that Roman goes with him. Roman agreed, and the police officer took him to Chernootrozhskiy rural council.
“The police officer asked me whether I took the money. I told him I did not. Then he called his colleague and let him talk to me. He also asked whether I took the money, I replied that I did not. Then he said he would come now from Saraktash and would sort this out”, – Roman says.
Chikviladze remembers that the second police officer came to the rural council at about midnight. He brought a belt and an electric shocker.
“This police officer asked me took the money. I answered that I did not know and that I did not take them. He said: “Well, if you don’t want a good way, it will be a bad way. We will torture you!” I grew scared, said “Can we do without it?”, and he answered: “There is no other way” and led me to the rural council assembly hall”, – Roman continues.
In his explanations, Chikviladze described tortures in the following way: “When I sat on a chair, the police officer pulled the belt underneath the chair seat and fixed my feet with it tight in such a way that the buckle was in the area of my thighs. The police officer repeated the question once again: “Where did you get the money?”, I told him I did not take the money. Then he hit me with electric shocker’s discharge in the groin area which inflicted unbearable pain”.
According to Roman, the torture lasted for about half an hour: in total, he received about five electric shocker discharges. After some time, the police officers brought his brother, Valiko. According to Roman, the police officers also tied him up to a chair and demanded that he confessed of stealing the money, applying electric shocker. But Valiko also refused to bear false testimony against oneself. In fear of further pressure and tortures, Roman agreed to take the blame on himself and write a full confession. Only after that the two men were released home.
Roman went to live with his uncle in the neighboring village and for several days he was afraid to get out.
Only on 14 August he made up his mind to go to a doctor and went to the Saraktashskiy District Hospital. After the examination the doctor immediately reported the detected injuries of Roman to the police.
“Immediately the very same police officer who hit me with electric shocker came to the hospital and took away the medical documents that I received, – Roman describes. – After that he asked if I smoked, I replied negatively, and then he bought two cake cheeses for me and gave me a lift home”.
After Chikviladze applied to the Committee Against Torture, human rights defenders helped him to register the bodily injuries on the same day at the Bureau of Forensic Medical expert examination in Orenburg.
According to the certificate of the forensic medical examination conducted on 15 August, Roman Chikviladze was diagnosed with bodily injuries in the form of “electric markings in the area of both thighs, external sex organs, which may have been generated as a result of repeated impact of electricity”.
On the same day Chikviladze applied to a combustiologist, who diagnosed him with the following: “Electrical shock. Electric trauma of 1st degree. Electrical markings on both thighs and external sex organs”.
On 16 August, human rights defenders submitted a crime report to the Saraktashskiy Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Orenburg region.
On 16 September, head of this department Artem Fedyakov passed a ruling on initiating criminal proceedings with regard to the crime committed against Roman Chikviladze under items “a”, “b” of Part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence and special equipment”).
On 23 September, Valiko Baygulov also applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. That is how he recalls what happened on that night at the rural assembly hall: “A police officer hit me twice with electric shocker in the groin area in the presence of his colleague and Roma, and the colleague did not even attempt to stop him, but only kept asking where we put the five thousand rubles that we took from father. I said I did not take the money, but, apparently, they were not satisfied with my answer. When Roma was taken to the room in front, me and the district officer remained alone, and once again he hit me with electric shocker and once again I screamed from unbearable pain, but I did not bear false witness against myself”.
On 24 September 2019, senior district investigative officer of the Cherny Otrog settlement of the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Saraktashsky District Sergey Pavlov was apprehended under suspicion of having committed the afore mentioned crimes and taken to the temporary detention facility. Later on the charges were brought against him.
On 23 June 2020, investigator Dmitry Gryazev produced charges against the second police officer – district police officer of the Department of the Interior for the Saraktashsky District Rinat Arslambayev, with regard to committing the crime under part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“abuse of office using violence”).
According to the investigative authorities, Rinat Arslambayev was involved in Roman Chikviladze’s tortures by holding the chair on which the latter was sitting, trying to dodge Pavlov’s blows.
On 27 August, the Saraktashsky District Court of the Orenburg region started examination of this case.
On 11 March 2021, during a court hearing, defendant Sergey Pavlov requested that judge Marat Asfandiyarov recused himself. According to Pavlov, he attended football practice together with Asfandiyarov, they used to drink beer after these sessions, as well as celebrated a birthday of their friend’s son.
Judge Asfandiyarov retired to the consultation room to resolve the recusation that was submitted with his regard.
On 19 March, the judge announced his verdict – he refused to recuse himself. The next court hearing is scheduled for 23 March 2021.
“Due to the submitted request on the judge recusation, seven witnesses were questioned: former fire safety inspector, at the present time holding a rank at the local administration, Pavlov’s colleague from the Ministry of the Interior, Deputy Head of the Land Cadastral Chamber Department, head of the local Sports and Recreation Center, owner of some farmland in the area, Pavlov’s mother and one employee with the Prosecutor’s Office. It turned out that judge Asfandiyarov, defendant Pavlov and a number of witnesses indeed attended football practice together, however, witnesses failed to confirm that they drank together after football. The fact of attending a birthday party of their acquaintance’s son was also confirmed. However, the judge, while making a decision not to recuse himself, pointed out that the indicated circumstances did not demonstrate any friendly or adverse relationships with the defendant”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments.