On 18 April at 9.00 the Avtozavodskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod will start announcing the verdict for six criminal investigation officers of the Avtozavodskiy District Police Department, who are charged with several episodes of abuse of office and an episode of illegal home invasion. As we have previously reported, the state prosecutor Arkadiy Senyayev considered that the guilt of the defendants is completely proven and asked the court to sentence each of them to prison terms.
(Photo source: http://www.vladtime.ru)
As we have previously reported, on March 27, 2012 the Nizhny Novgorod office of the Committee Against Torture received applications from Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov alleging they were subjected to unlawful violence by the police officers of Police Department no. 1 of Nizhny Novgorod Department of Interior. It took the investigators of the Investigative Committee over two and a half years to take it to court.
The court proceedings took one and a half year – over sixty court sessions took place, in the course of which the materials of forty four volumes of the criminal case were examined and over fifty witnesses were questioned.
The examination of the criminal case was performed in quite a tense environment. Throughout the whole proceedings the defendants (former police officers) were trying to prove that their actions were legal.
However, they chose a negative proof: rather than proving their innocence they were trying to bring the attention of the court to the victims themselves, whom they consider to be involved in a number of crimes. It is worth mentioning that head of the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for the Nizhny Novgorod region Ivan Shaev and former regional ombudsman Vasiliy Olnev sent letters in support of the defendants.
In the course of discussions the State Prosecutor asked the court to sentence the former deputy head of Police Department No.1 of Nizhny Novgorod Vladimir Samsonov to 7 years prison term; head of the criminal investigation unit Sergey Alimov, head of the crimes against property unit Ivan Vechkanov and senior criminal investigator Andrey Balandin and criminal investigator of the crimes against property unit Evgeniy Telenkov to 3.5 years of prison term. He also asked the court to sentence the defendants to prison term in the standard regime penal colony.
Lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Dmitry Utoukin, representing the interests of one of the victims, commented the completion of the court proceedings: «The defense team tried to put emphasis on the ethnic side of the case. The police officers wanted to look like they were protecting the common people from the descendants from the Caucasus. But, in our opinion, the guilt of the defendants is completely proven and they are just manipulating the facts in order to make their actions look legal. Thus, for example, the former deputy head of the police department Vladimir Samsonov expressly declared in his final statement that the case against him is a revenge of drug dealers and owners of gambling machines for his refusal to shelter them. Lieutenant Colonel failed to specify what victims Zamanov and Gasanov have to do with it».