In the course of the report check concerning tortures at the police department of the Krasnodar Territory it turned out that “no recording from outdoor video surveillance cameras to the hard drive was performed due to technical reasons” for almost a month, including on that day, when Nikita Khatskevich was there – he complained against the criminal investigations officers, stating that they were beating him up forcing to confess of a theft of a cable. Investigator Viktor Melnichenko dismissed opening the criminal case against law-enforcement officers for the fourth time already, now another check is ongoing.
As we have already reported, on 25 March 2019, Nikita Khatskevich, a citizen from Gulkevichi town of the Krasnodar Territory, applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. He told human rights defenders that on 18 March four police officers seized him in his house and delivered him to the police department. There, according to Nikita, the criminal investigations officers illegally applied physical force against him in order to force him to obtain his confession of theft of a copper cable.
“After I replied that I have nothing to tell, one of the investigative officers hit me with his fist against the chest. After this blow I flew to the door and fell together with the chair. After that all four of them started to beat me up. They hit against the ribs, at the body, some blows were at the left ear. The battery suspended from time to time, and one of the officers suggested that I talk nice with them and tell everything as they “had information”. When I answered that I had told everything and I don’t know anything, they started to beat me up again. All this lasted for about thirty minutes”, – Khatskevich remembers.
According to Nikita, as a result, the police officers printed out his explanations that he did not know anything about the theft of a cable and he was not involved in that.
“After I put my signature in this explanation, the police officer told me that I provided false evidence and now I would be in big trouble because of that”, – Nikita says.
According to Khatskevitch, after that he was handed over to Patrol-Guard Service officers, who brought him to the local hospital. There Nikita told the doctor he did not have any complaints to make, fearing the battery might repeat.
After Khatskevich was taken back to the police department, a protocol on administrative violation was drawn up, accusing him of using obscenities in a public place as well as of defiance of a lawful demand of the police officer.
On the next day, 19 March, defense lawyer Olesya Panyuzheva came to police department, whom Nikita Khatskevich told what happened to him the day before; he also told her he was feeling unwell. The defense lawyer demanded that the police officer called an ambulance. The arrived medics applied a splint on Nikita’s neck and took him to hospital, where he underwent treatment for a week.
According to the act of medical forensic examination, Nikita Khatskevich was inflicted the following bodily injuries: brain concussion, closed craniocerebral injury, contused slot-like injury of the internal surface of the upper lip of the right, strip-like yellowish bruises of the back and the left lateral surfaces of the chest, intermittent strip-like bruise under the raised red-brown crust on the left lateral surface of the body above the crista of the iliac spine, bruises of soft tissues of the neck and cervical vertebrae, chest soft tissues, left shoulder joint, left knee joint, which inflicted a mild damage to health.
On 26 March, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report on behalf of Nikita Khatskevich. Senior Investigator of the Investigative Department for the Gulchevichsky District of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Krasnodar Territory Viktor Melnichenko was in charge of checking this application.
On 3 August Mr Melnichenko issued the fourth refusal to open a criminal case, which was quashed on the same day by the management of the investigative department. At the present time additional expert examination is assigned.
“In the last “refusal” the investigator only added the information that the records from the outdoor video cameras is not available, as for the rest – it is the same document from a month before, where only date is changed, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Romanov comments. – The objective data tells us that Mr Melnichenko is either incompetent or intentionally delays the check. For example, the hard drive where the data from video surveillance cameras is stored, was seized by the investigator and the expert examination was assigned only four months later, although we reported about it immediately after the submittal of a crime report. During all the period of the check the investigator failed to conduct all the necessary checking activities although previously he satisfied our notions on their performance”.
According to Sergey Romanov, human rights defenders already demanded that the Prosecutor’s Office of the Krasnodar Territory and the regional Investigative Committee superiors evaluate the actions of Melnichenko and his superior.
As we have previously reported, three more residents of the Krasnodar Territory applied to the Committee Against Torture with complaints against tortures at the same Department of Interior of Russia for the Gulkevichsky District. Two of the applicants claim that the police officers tortured them with boiling water by pouring it on various parts of their body.