Moscow without investigation as a carte blanche for police torture

Событие | Пресс центр

26 October 2015

(Anna Prokofyeva)

Lawyers of the Moscow branch of INGO «The Committee for Prevention of Torture» have faced with several flagrant cases of the Investigative Committee’s illegal refusals to perform the check of complaints about the police violence applied against citizens. This came to such a pitch that the investigators defiantly ignored both the Prosecutor’s Office arguments and the judicial instances rulings. 

An alarming tendency is developing in the Moscow region, according to human rights defenders from the Committee for Prevention of Torture – applicants’ complaints to the Investigative Committee that they were subjected to illegal police  violence are redirected by investigators, in violation of law, to the police structural subdivisions in order to conduct agency checks.

That is how is was, for example, in case of Anna Prokofyeva from Reutovo town in near Moscow, who was apprehended by the police officers on 9 March last year on the Red Square. According to the applicant, the police officers used unlawful and excessive violence against her, as a result of which she received a number of injuries which were registered by the doctors: «partial damage of the left musculus trapezius. Left hip soft tissues contusion».

Based on this fact, on 25 September of last year human rights defenders  submitted a crime report on behalf of Anna Prokofyeva to the Investigative Department for the Tverskoy District of Moscow. However, only half a year later, on 25 March 2015, deputy head of the Investigative Department for the Tverskoy region of Moscow Mr.Sarkisov gave an answer, according to which «there is no ground for performing the check under Articles 144-145 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the RF by forces of the Investigative Department for the Tverskoy District of Moscow…». The applicant’s complaint was «handed over» to the police officers, who, conducting the agency check, claimed that no violations have been revealed in the actions of their colleagues…

The investigator’s decision to refuse conducting check of Prokofyeva’s complaint was appealed in court which declared it illegal and compelled the investigative body superiors to eliminate the breaches. However, the investigative bodies remain inactive even after that.    

The case of Anna Prokofyeva, unfortunately, has not become an exception to the rule in the practice of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Moscow branch lawyers.   

Thus, on 23 July 2014 actor Andrey Shatskiy, who got a bursting of knee ligaments during his apprehension by the police officers on 23 July 2014, applied with a crime report to the Investigative Committee of the RF. And again the investigative apparatus decided to disburden its obligations upon another and sent the complaint for conducting check by the police. And again the motives of the Investigative Committee officers are unclear, since it is only they who can conduct checks and investigate cases on abuse of office by the police.    

In October 2014 the Tverskaya Prosecutor’s Office of Moscow expressed indignation over the inaction of the investigation and demanded from the Tverskoy Investigative Department to conduct a check of Shatskiy application. However, this demand was completely ignored and to this date, over a year later, the investigative authorities have not performed the check.   

(Natalya Golomidova)

The third example of the developed tradition of sabotage by the Moscow region investigative bodies is Natalya Golomidova case. She told lawyers of the Committee for Prevention of Torture that the police officers apprehended her for administrative violation and brought her to the police department where without drawing up an apprehension report took specimens of her venous blood for unknown purposes, after that a large hematoma developed. Then she  was taken for the night to the room of detainees for administrative violations where she felt sick. Virtually for the whole night Golomidova asked the duty police officers to call the ambulance but they did not do it. Moreover, for a long time they did not let her out to the toilet, and Golomidova had to ease herself in that tiny cell. For over five months the Investigative Committee has been refusing to conduct a check of this crime report.    

The problem developed in the Moscow region is commented by INGO «The Committee for Prevention of Torture» Moscow branch lawyer Sergey Babinets: «This cannot be named other than criminal omission. Absolute ignoring of the petitions, arguments and evidence provided by the applicants. We are extremely displeased with such illegal mode of behavior of the Investigative Department officers.  I would like to point out that the Prosecutor’s Office agrees to our arguments, as well as the court. They repeatedly requested that the investigators stop their unlawful practice. However the investigators seem to demonstrate that they do not intend to abide by the law.  Their actions amount to the crime under Article 293 of the Criminal Code of the RF («neglect in the discharge of duty»). In the nearest future we shall submit appropriate petitions on criminal omission to Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia Aleksandr Bastrykin».