60-years old pensioner Sergey Zigunov from Labinsk of the Krasnodar Territory applied to the Committee Against Torture. He told human rights defenders that two police officers put him down on the floor and broke his arm due to his refusal to proceed to the police department. It happened after Zigunov refused to put on a mask in the premise of the power supply company, the employees of which called the police.
On 22 October 2020, Sergey Zigunov came to the office of the power supply company to pay his electricity bill. The company employees asked him to put on a mask, and when he refused, they called the police. The arrived police officers suggested that Zigunov went with them, Sergey refused. Then he seized the pensioner by his arms, performed a footsweep and put him down on the floor. The conflict of the police officers and Sergey Zigunov was recorded with the surveillance camera, and the pensioner himself provided an audio record of the conversation that he had with an acquaintance of his at the time.
For seven minutes the police officers were holding Sergey on the floor, despite his complaints about his health and a hypertonia attack: “I have nothing to breathe… let me go, I will go…” Zigunov was taken to the police department, where the police was called. At first, the man was hospitalized at the district hospital, and on the next day, the doctors took Zigunov to the Central District Hospital of the Kurganinsky District.
There, Sergey was diagnosed with a contused wound of the head, a hematoma, double fracture of the right arm: “a non-displaced closed fracture of the radius bone condylus, closed fracture of the coronoid process of the right elbow bone”.
On the same day, Zigunov submitted a report on abuse of office by the police officers. On 3 November, the court fined him for 500 rubles for insubordination (part 1 Article 19.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences).
On 14 November, Sergey applied for legal assistance to the Committee Against Torture. This is not the first time when pensioners, suffered from illegal actions of the police officers, apply to us.
Three and a half months later after Sergey applied to the Investigative Committee, on 8 February 2021, a medical forensic examination was held in the framework of the pre-investigative check of his application. A forensic expert did not mention the right arm fractures, “since they are not confirmed by the x-ray data”. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture initiated an independent expert examination – based on its results, the specialist concluded that the forensic expert unreasonably ignored the fractures which are confirmed by the x-ray films. Now, the investigator assigned one more medical forensic examination.
On 12 March 2021, at the initiative of the Prosecutor, the court reviewed the ruling and quashed the fine imposed on Zigunov. The court explained that the police officers did not have legal grounds to take Sergey to the police department.
Despite this ruling, the investigator has already passed four dismissals of the claims to open a criminal case. The fourth ruling was passed on 27 September of this year, and it will definitely not be the last – the conclusion of the medical forensic examination has not been obtained yet.
That is how lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Anna Kotsareva comments on the case of Zigunov: “The investigator should have opened a criminal case long time ago. Firstly, there is a video record of the incident and the audio record of Zigunov’s telephone conversation with an acquaintance of his. Secondly, the court decided that Zigunov was illegally taken to the police department, because there were no grounds for that. And medical documents confirm that he obtained his injuries due to illegal actions of the police officers”.