The Dzerzhinskiy District Court of Orenburg completed judicial investigation of the criminal case with regard to two criminal investigators Albert Akmanov and Vasily Zoubikhin, charged of committing the crime under parts «a, b» Part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF («abuse of office using violence and special equipment»).
As we have previously reported, on 27 August 2008 Vyacheslav Sadovskiy, Maksim Nimatov and Anton Ferapontov applied to the Orenburg office of the Committee Against Torture. They reported to human rights defenders that on 25 August 2008 they were detained by the police, taken to the Dzerzhinskiy District Department of Internal Affairs where they were battered and brutally tortured. For the whole night police officers were trying to obtain confession statements from them related to a number of different crimes: from the robbery of the beer stand to murder of the police officer. According to the applicants, in addition to «standard» battery the police put gas masks on their heads and blew cigarette smoke into the tube, hung them by the hands and legs tied behind their backs, everything was accompanied by battery with truncheons.
The victims state that the tortures lasted till the morning of August 26. The detainees were deprived of sleep and if they started falling asleep they were hit on the head.
The victims’ parents and other relatives, having accidentally learned that their sons are detained by the police, kept the watch near the building of the Dzerzhinsky District Police Department. It is worth pointing out the fact that for a long time the police tried to convince them that their sons were not in the building of the District Police Department. Only by the evening of 26 August the police allowed the lawyers to see the young men.
Despite the fact that the police officers threatened them with harsher treatment in case they change their testimony, the young men in the presence of the lawyers reported that they were forced to incriminate themselves under torture and to sign some documents.
The police officers illegally detained the young men for over 24 hours without making any charges. After the young men were released they first went to the first-aid station, and then to hospital, where the doctors registered all numerous bodily injuries: all the three were diagnosed with hematomas, bruises, joints dislocations, one of them was diagnosed with cerebral concussion, Vyacheslav Sadovsky had a broken rib, and Anton Ferapontov had a broken nose.
On the next day all the three young men and their parents applied to the investigative authorities with a crime report. The victims also applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal help.
Despite the traumas, confirmed by medical documents and numerous testimonies of witnesses who saw the young men without any bodily injuries at the moment of their apprehension, and testimonies of witnesses who saw the beaten up victims covered in blood taken out from the building of the Dzerzhinsky District Police Department, the investigative authorities dragged their heels initiating the criminal case. The check of the crime report that should have been conducted within three days lasted over five and a half years. No less than seventeen times the Investigative Department issued refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, which were declared illegal after the Committee Against Torture lawyers’ complaints.
Human rights defenders also managed to prove in court that the young men apprehension was illegal and to collect from the state the compensation for moral damage incurred by this illegal action.
Taking into account the persistent reluctance of the investigative authorities to investigate this incident at the national level, in spring of 2014 the members of the Committee Against Torture had to lodge a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the applicants. Practically at the same time when it was lodged on 9 April 2014 the investigative authority initiated the criminal case based on the fact described above. The investigation of the case was assigned to the first department for investigation of major cases of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region.
«Judicial investigation of the criminal case is, at last, over, and the defendants were questioned in the end of it. It took us a lot of efforts and patience to bring the case examination to the stage of oral arguments. As it is known, the criminal case with a judgment of conviction was sent to court on 11 November 2015 and is being examined for over 8 months; the court hearing is being delayed due to long breaks. With regard to this we submitted a statement asking to expedite the examination of the criminal case, – lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Evgeny Litvinov emphasizes. – As to the court hearing that was held today, it is necessary to point out that the defendants’ evidence involved only several sentences, most part of which are very familiar phrases like “I don’t remember this”, “I wasn’t there” and “after their apprehension I went home to sleep, and I don’t know who stayed with them”. It is also obvious that the defendants and their lawyers did not bother themselves to search for the “faults” of the preliminary investigation and put emphasis on the conclusions that some investigative activities were performed with violations of the law. As for us, we think that the defendants’ guilt is established by the court with the help of the totality of the evidence collected at the stage of preliminary investigation which were examined by the court».
Oral arguments on the criminal case with regard to former police officers Albert Akmanov and Vasiliy Zoubikhin are scheduled for 5 August of this year.