Today, on 18 February 2015, the panel commission of Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court has once again adjourned the examination of a complaint of two former police officers with Police Department no. 7, Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov, who in January 2014 were found guilty under Article «exceeding official powers with use of violence and special equipment» and were sentenced to 5 years in a standard regime penal colony. This time the court hearing was rescheduled due to illness of the lawyer of one of the defendants which prevented him from taking part in the hearing.
The circumstances of the case in question are as follows. On 6 March 2011 Aleksandr Dmitriyev was unlawfully apprehended by the police officers of Sovetsky District Police Department of Nizhny Novgorod on suspicion of theft, which he, as it was revealed later, did not commit. After his «conversation» with the criminal investigation department officers Dmitriyev signed a confession statement. Vertebral fracture and inpatient admission became another sad result of «enhanced interrogation» of Aleksandr.
According to Dmitriyev, who applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance, the policemen were beating him and used the method of torture known as «envelope» (victim’s hands are twisted behind the back and handcuffed, legs are tied together and with the hands so that the victim is «folded» like an envelope).
On 13 April 2011 criminal proceedings were initiated following Aleksandr’s ill-treatment complaint, but on 6 October 2011 the case was closed on the grounds that no crime had been committed. However, due to the efforts of the Committee Against Torture which called the media attention to this case, on 10 May 2012 the case was reopened and transferred to the first department of the Nizhny Novgorod region Investigative Committee Investigative Department.
As a result on 23 January 2014 the Sovetskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod pronounced the guilty verdict for two former police officers with Police Department no. 7 Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov and convicted them to five years prison term.
Their defense team was not satisfied with the court decision and filed an appellate complaint against it. However, the court hearing on 13 November of last year dedicated to examination of this complaint came to an abrupt end. The penal commission satisfied the motion of the representative of the regional prosecutor’s office and appointed an agency check of the fact of absence of the reports of the preliminary hearing and the first court hearing of the case which took place in November 2012.
However, today’s court hearing dedicated to examination of this complaint was not destined to take place – due to his lawyer’s extended illness Aleksey Sokolov terminated his contract with him. The next court hearing is scheduled for 4 March 2015.
Head of investigations department of Nizhny Novgorod office of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Dmitry Utukin, who represented the interests of the victim: «The court gave the convicted Sokolov two weeks to find the new lawyer, after that the court hearing continues. We hope that on 4 March nothing will prevent the court from passing a final judgment in this case».