One-third of a monthly salary of a police captain - the cost of a girl's beating up by police

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18 July 2014

Yesterday, on 17 July 2014 the Supreme Court Judicial Collegium for Civil Cases of the Republic of Bashkortostan quashed the decision of court of the first instance and awarded Veronika Rozkulieva, who was subjected to battery by the police in 2010, twenty thousand rubles in compensation for moral damages. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture on behalf of the victim are going to appeal against this decision and are ready to apply to the European Court of Human Rights, if needs be.

(Veronika Rozkulieva)

As we have previously reported, in the summer of 2010 Veronika Rozkulieva applied to the Bashkortostan regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» seeking legal assistance. She claimed that in February 2010 she was beaten up in the Alshaevskiy Department of the Interior. According to the applicant, police captain Azat Shunkarov attempted to make her responsible for theft of a cell phone belonging to the chief of the cafe she worked for as a waitress. The woman rejected any involvement in the crime. She stated that the policeman inflicted her numerous blows to the head and body with his hands and a truncheon. Medical examinations observed such injuries as acute closed craniocerebral injury, brain concussion, and numerous bruises on different parts of her body.

It must be noted that in a month after the aggressive interrogation the police discovered that the missing cell phone had been taken by another person.

On 29 March 2010 the Belebeevsk Interdistrict Investigating Department of the Investigative Committee for the Bashkortostan Republic instituted criminal proceedings concerning the battery of the young woman on the grounds of evidence of a crime under Article 286 (3) (a) of the Criminal Code of Russia (exceeding official powers with the use of violence).

On May 18, 2011 the case was brought to trial before the Alshaevskiy District Court of the Bashkortostan Republic. The case was pending before the court for almost two years.

On 21 March 2013 the Alshaevskiy District Court found police captain Azat Shunkarov guilty under Article 286 (3) (a) CC RF and sentenced the policeman to 1 year of probation with a 3 year and 6 months suspended sentence, prohibited him to hold offices in the civil service for the term of 1 year and 6 months.

Lawyers working with the INGO «Committee Against Torture» in Bashkortostan believed that the district court had breached procedural time limits provided by federal laws for examining Veronika Rozkulieva’s ill-treatment complaints, and therefore, the victim should demand just compensation. Thus, human right defenders applied to the Supreme Court of the Republic and served a claim against the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. The Investigating Directorate of the Investigative Committee for the Republic of Bashkortostan, which had been in charge of the case, was summoned to the court as a third party.|

Eventually on 18 December 1012 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan awarded Ms Rozkulieva 35 000 rubles to be paid by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. The Supreme Court also gave its assessment of the procedural and investigative steps taken by the investigative bodies in charge of the case. The court concluded that there had been unreasoned delays in the criminal proceedings caused by partly ineffective performance of the investigative bodies.

After that the human rights defenders applied to the court now demanding compensation  for moral damages, inflicted by the crime committed by the police officer. On 24 May 2014 the Leninsky District Court of Ufa city dismissed the claim, having considered the Ministry of Finance an improper defendant. Lawyers working with the INGO «Committee Against Torture» disagreed with the court decision and appealed against it.

Yesterday the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan quashed the decision of the court of the first instance, partly sustaining Veronika Roskulieva’s claim. However, the court awarded only 20 000 rubles compensation when the plaintiff initially claimed 500 000 rubles.
  
Lawyer working with Bashkirian regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» Dmitry Solodkiy, who represented Ms Rozkulieva’s interests commented on the decision: «We think that this sum is sheer mockery of the girl whom the police officer for no good reason denounced for theft of the mobile phone. She was brutally beaten when the police officer was trying to beat out confessions, and only by chance she did not become a criminal through «sincere acknowledgment». After that for 4 years she was trying to bring the  guilty party to justice… We definitely will be appealing against the court decision under cassational procedure, and demand awarding adequate compensation. If we fail to find justice on the national level we will have to apply to the European Court of Human Rights».