On March 1 Nizhny Novgorod pensioner Lilia Gremina finally received the compensation payment of 30 thousand rubles she was awarded for ill-treatment by the police almost fiveyearsago.
You may remember that on March 24, 2007 Lilia Gremina tried to take part in the Dissenters’ March. However, she never joined the action, as she was unlawfully detained by the police by means of violence before the rally began.
Ms. Gremina applied to the Committee Against Torture asking it to conduct an investigation. The public investigation showed that actions of the police, and namely, Gremina’s unlawful and unfounded detention with the use of violence, were obviously rude and inconsistent with the goals and tasks of law enforcement authorities and constituted an offense against the old woman’s dignity.
Despite habitual sabotage of the investigative authorities, investigation delays and multiple refusals to instigate criminal proceedings on the allegations of police abuse, the ICAT managed to bring the case to court. In March 2011 the Nizhegorodsky district court awarded the 74-year old pensioner thirty thousand rubles as compensation of moral damage (the applicant claimed 100 thousand), however, none of the policemen was punished, since the investigative authorities had failed to identify those who had participated in the unlawful detention.
With the help of the CAT Gremina’s application was communicated by the European Court of Human Rights, in December 2011 the ECtHR asked the Russian Federation a number of questions, for instance, whether or not the applicant had been ill-treated during her detention on March 24, 2007, whether she had had access to an effective domestic remedy, whether her detention had been lawful.
Unfortunately, we have to admit that without the involvement of human rights NGOs and sometimes the ECtHR it is rather challenging to attain justice in our country.
On the other hand, we must also note positive changes in the behaviour of the police during such public actions, for instance, during the public rally on March 5 in Nizhny Novgorod it was exemplary adequate. We hope it is going to stay like that.