Open address of Chairman of the Committee Against Torture, member of Human Rights Council Igor Kalyapin to Minister of the Interior of Russia Vladimir Kolokoltsev

Событие | Пресс центр

18 October 2019

Dear Vladimir Aleksandrovich!

A little over three months ago you delivered a video address and reported that all the charges are lifted from journalist Ivan Golunov. You also solicited the President of Russia to dismiss Head of Department of Interior of the Western Administrative District of Moscow of the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Interior of Russia for Moscow Brigadier General of Police Andrey Puchkov and Head of Drug Law Enforcement of Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Interior of Russia for Moscow Brigadier General of Police Yury Devyatkin.

However, regretfully, your address was not heard by other subordinates of yours, and, despite the expressed commitment of your statement and subsequent strict personnel decision, the situation did not just repeat on the Nizhny Novgorod region, but was aggravated with other office crime. On 12 September 2019, Igor Kraynov was apprehended in Nizhny Novgorod. Nizhny Novgorod Department of Interior Drug Law Enforcement officers apprehended him at about 10 p.m., performed a personal search, as well as searched through his belongings which were on him. During the search, a transparent bag with 3.184 g of “mephedrone” narcotic substance was found. A criminal case was initiated against Kraynov under Part 2 of Article 228 of the Criminal Code of Russia.

We might have congratulated the police officers with a successfully performed operation, if their actions on Igor Kraynov’s apprehension had not been recorded accidentally with a video surveillance camera. In the video record which lawyers with INGO “The Committee Against Torture” and the Investigative Committee’s investigators obtained and studied, it is clearly seen that the Drug Law Enforcement officers apply physical force without any legal grounds against Igor Kraynov, who is lying face down, handcuffed. In the records we also can see one of the officers putting some object in the left pocket of the apprehended person. Subsequently, it is from this pocket that the plastic bag with a substance which turned out to be 3.184 g of mephedrone, was seized.

Fighting the illegal drug trafficking is an important aspect of law enforcement activity. Having studied all the materials available to date, I cannot rule out Igor Kraynov’s involvement to the act that he is charged with, and I admit that the police officers might have attempted to stop the crime related to illegal drug trafficking. However, the actions of the police officers, registered on the video, cause doubts as to the legality of the method of apprehension. What is more, the mentioned actions involve elements of crime under Articles 286 (abuse of office) and 303 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (forging the evidence and the results of the field investigation activities).
I’m convinced that field investigation activities with violations of the Russian legislation are absolutely unacceptable, and the results of such work cannot be considered as evidence in the criminal case. Moreover, I think that the line management of these officers should be subjected to strict disciplinary liability up to and including discharge from law enforcement bodies.

At the present moment, a criminal case is initiated under part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – abuse of office using violence. The charges have been brought against all the three police officers, two of them have been taken into custody. The third defendant Nikolay Kostrov fled from prosecution and is put on the wanted list.

Under the circumstances, I think that the repletion of such an incident gives all the grounds to state that the measures previously taken on the similar high-profile case are not sufficient. It is evident that the superiors of the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for the Nizhny Novgorod region, as well as the superiors of the Drug Law Enforcement bodies do not execute adequate control of their subordinates’ actions legality. I also think that the situation requires urgent involvement by the superiors of the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation with taking appropriate personnel and organizational decisions.

With regard to the described above, I’m asking you of the following:

1. Assign an agency check with regard to the executives whose duties involve control of the Drug Law Enforcement bodies in the Nizhny Novgorod region;
2. In case some violations are revealed, strong disciplinary action should be taken;
3. The check should identify the causes and conditions contributed to perpetrating this crime, and take measures for their elimination;
4. Report the results of this application review and the conducted check, as well as the measures taken.

Member of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation on Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights
Chairman of INGO “The Committee Against Torture” I.A.Kalyapin