The Committee Against Torture submitted applications on abuse of office to the Investigative Committee on behalf of Polina Kassayeva and Vitaly Kovalenko. They told human rights defenders that they were subjected to violence by law-enforcement officers during apprehension at protest rallies in Moscow.
According to Kassayeva, on 24 February she was participating in a rally and, having been scared by the Special Police Force officer, ran in the yard of the nearest house. The officer caught up with Kassayeva when she grappled the door handle and started to pull her by her coat, demanding that she went with him and ignoring the question about the reason for apprehension. As a result, he brought Kassayeva into the prison van by force. There, she felt a sharp pain in her arm. Later on, at the first aid station, the girl was diagnosed with a fracture of the wrist and a contusion of the head.
According to applicant Vitaly Kovalenko, he was apprehended during the protest rally on 6th March, when he was sitting on a bench near the Lyubanka square. During the apprehension, he pressed his heels against the pavement, after that a police officer pushed him down and hit him in the eye area with his knee. Kovalenko recalls that he passed out for a second because of pain. The man was taken to the police department, and then was transported to the hospital in an ambulance. At the same time, the police officers did not allow the doctors to hospitalize Vitaly for about an hour, and forced the medics to wait for the documents to be drawn up. The victim was diagnosed with an eye pit fracture and brain concussion.
— Year by year we observe the same situation in Moscow: the participants of the rallies return home with traumas. According to them, they receive traumas during apprehension. They provide witnesses, medical records, photographs and videos to prove that. However, it is too early to claim that law-enforcement officers committed these crimes based on these data — a long investigation and court trial are ahead. To start with, a simple check would be good to achieve, which becomes harder as years go by, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Adam Torosyan comments.