Moscow lawyer claims to have been beaten up by bailiffs

Событие | Пресс центр

22 February 2017

Lawyer Aleksey Sukhanov applied to the Committee for the Prevention of Torture for legal assistance: he claims that on 25 January of this year the bailiff of the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow hit his head against the safe because Mr Sukhanov attempted to render legal assistance to his client Elena Rokhlina. Human rights defenders commenced public investigation based on Mr Sukhanov’s application. 

(Aleksey Sukhanov)

According to Aleksey Sukhanov, on 25 January 2017 he came to the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow to participate in another court hearing of “journalist Aleksandr Sokolov case” in the capacity of a defense lawyer of one of the defendants in this case, Kirill Barabash. 

According to the participants of the court hearing, questioned by human rights defenders, there was an argument between the listening public and the bailiffs. One of the listeners – Elena Rokhlina – while staying in the corridor, asked a dog handler passing by with a service dog why his dog was not wearing a muzzle. “So that you ask about it!”, – was a rude answer from the dog handler. After that, according to the listeners, a bailiff ran into the corridor, and holding Rokhlina by the hand, pulled her in his office room for drawing up the administrative protocol. Former Prosecutor’s Office employee Viktor Panov, standing nearby, attempted to give the bailiff a reproof, after that he was also escorted to the same office room.  

Aleksey Sukhanov told human rights defenders that having learned about the situation he immediately went to that office room for rendering legal assistance to Rokhlina, with whom he had an agreement concluded. The lawyer claims that having entered inside he produced a warrant and ID, however, the bailiff started to push him out of the office room, wrested the warrant from his grasp and attempted to wrest and destroy the ID. Sukhanov demanded that they did not touch him. In response to that the bailiffs attacked him and started to wring his hands. 

“After I was brought to my knees, one of the bailiffs placed his palm on the back of my neck and pushed my head with force in the direction of the safe, – the lawyer describes. – I hit the left side of my head against its metal edge. The blow was strong and painful; it knocked me unconscious for several moments”.

Panov, Rokhlina and Sukhanov himself say that the bailiffs beat Aleksey down on the floor, handcuffed him, compressing his hands with force, and kicked him out from the office room, after that they continued to draw up protocols on Panov and Rokhlina. In the corridor other members of the court audience saw that Sukhanov felt bad and called for the police and the ambulance. The latter transported the lawyer to the Institute of Emergency Care named after N.V. Sklifosovsky, where he was diagnosed with a closed craniocerebral injury, brain concussion,   abrasions of the head soft tissues and bruises of the limbs.
 
On the next day Aleksey Sukhanov applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report. According to the information from the lawyers of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, as of today the check with regard to this application is still ongoing.  

Meanwhile, the case of administrative violation under Article 17.9 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation  (“Obstruction of legal activity of the bailiff”) with regard to Sukhanov himself was sent to the justice court. On 20 February judge Sergey Komlev passed a ruling imposing administrative sanctions against Sukhanov and levy a penalty against him in the amount of 1000 roubles. According to the bailiffs, the lawyer stormed into the office room where protocols with regard to Rokhlina and Panin were being drawn up, attacked the officers who were present there and tore apart the protocol on Rokhlina. After that the bailiffs were forced to apply physical violence and special equipment against him, and, according to one of the bailiffs, they put Sukhanov handcuffed on the floor, “carefully as if he was a baby”. Bailiffs found it hard to explain the causes of the laywer’s bodily injuries. 

“Despite the ruling of the justice’s court we will be insisting on thorough check of Aleksey Sukhanov’s application by the investigators of the Investigative Committee, – lawyer of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Anastasia Garina describes. – In our opinion, at the present time his arguments look far more convincing than the bailiffs’ arguments. All the more so that unlike them, Aleksey is proving his stance with documented facts and witnesses’ testimony. The bailiffs, on the other hand, have not provided anything for justification of their stance, except for their own words”.

At the present time human rights defenders are performing the public investigation based on Aleksey Sukhanov’s application. Witnesses’ testimony has been already received, as well as Sukhanov’s discharge summary from the Institute of Emergency Care named after N.V. Sklifosovsky. In addition, Aleksey was tested using polygraph, which also gives grounds to treat his testimony with confidence. All the collected evidence will be sent to the Investigative Committee.