Opalikha village citizen Valery Dontsov claims that policemen tortured him into confessing to the murder of his son.


10 October 2007
  Photo:Valery Dontsov

The Committee against Torture has started an investigation upon the claim of Valery Dontsov who asks to render him legal assistance and conduct a public investigation of his battery by policemen that took place July 23, 2007 in the Kstovo district police department.

Dontsov told the Committee staff that on the 22nd of July 2007 he woke up approximately at 6 a.m. in his flat and saw the body of his son Mikhail. The ambulance that he called evidenced the death. Some time later the police arrived and examined the scene of action. They found Mikhail’s note saying that he had committed suicide voluntarily and wanted no one to be blamed for it. After that the police took Mikhail’s body to morgue.

The following day at 10 a.m. approximately the police and Mr.Zabaluev, criminal investigator of the Kstovo city prosecutor’s office, came to Dontsov’s flat again. The examined the scene of action once more and withdrew material evidence. Then they demanded that Viktor Dontsov should go to Kstovo district police department together with them.

Around 11 a.m. on July 23, 2007 Dovtsov was accompanied to the police department and taken to an office on the second floor. Two people came with Dontsov and there were two more officers in the room. Those people told Dontsov to sit down and confess to killing his son. When he refused to do so the policemen started to beat him, as Valery stated. He does not remember the events clearly because he was in a state of shock. He was hit on the back, front, head and legs. The police used their hands and rubber clubs. The battery lasted around two hours. Then Dontsov was taken to the sobering-up room where he spent approximately an hour and a half. Further he was taken again to the same room in the police department and the battery went on. From time to time one more police officer without uniform entered the room, hit Dontsov on his face and told him to acknowledge his guilt. Later Valery Dontsov found out that that police officer was a lieutenant-colonel. Dontsov does not remember how long the battery lasted, but when they finally came outside it was already dark. That was not the end of Valery’s misfortune. The man spent the night in a cell where he was placed by the “rights defenders” after the “interrogation” without any medical aid.

Next day Dontsov was taken to criminal investigator Zabaluev where he confessed to killing his son because he was broken by physical and moral violence. Further he denied his statement in lawyer’s presence and made a corresponding record in the interrogation protocol saying that he had admitted his guilt because he feared for his life and health.

The same day Dontsov was placed in a temporary detention centre.

Next day judge Ignatov refused to satisfy the motion for pre-trial detention because Kstovo police department officials, as it is common for them, did not submit any real arguments in favour of such pre-trial restriction.

The same day Valery Dontsov came back home.

Next morning he felt very bad because of bodily injuries and the ambulance took him to hospital where he spent a week. A police officer visited Dontsov in hospital and received a notice describing the situation from him. Dontsov’s mother told him that policemen also applied violence trying to force a confession in killing her grandson out of her.

The fact that Valery Dontsov had bodily injuries when he was taken to the sobering-up station on the 23rd of July 2007 is confirmed by a sobering-up station protocol that is included into the materials submitted by the prosecutor’s office to Kstovo court in order for the decision upon the measure of restraint to be made.

After a preliminary examination upon the victim’s request specialists of the Committee against Torture concluded that the police violated article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“prohibition of torture”) in relation to Valery Dontsov.

In this context human rights defenders are working on the case.

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