According to judge of the Nizhegorodsky District Court Mariya Koteeva, three thousand rubles is an adequate sum for comprensation of moral damage inflicted to Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov, who were beaten up at the police department in 2012. They were threatened with rape, and, as a result, a full confession of the crime they never committed was obtained from them. In 2016, six police officers, including the superiors of the department, were declared guilty, but sentenced to conditional term. Now the victims got one more humiliating handout from the court in the form of the meager sum of compensation.
(Photo: Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov)
As we have previously reported, on March 27, 2012 the Nizhny Novgorod office of the Committee Against Torture received applications from Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov alleging they were subjected to unlawful violence by the police officers of Police Department no. 1 of Nizhny Novgorod Department of Interior.
As it was later established by the court and mentioned in the indictment, in the evening of 2 March 2012 six police officers headed by the district police department Criminal Investigations superior stormed the summer cottage where the Gasanov family dwelled. The police officers seized all the mobile phones and documents, all the young people who were in the house, were apprehended. There the detained were forced to stand in the corridor for the whole night, they were not allowed to sit, and only once they were let to visit the lavatory.
During this time Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov were tortured in different rooms. The police officers hit and kicked Nizami, put a plastic bag on his head, threatened him with rape.
“You’ll die like a dog”, – the police officers promised to the detained.
Elshan was also beaten up, threatened with rape, humiliated with regard to his ethnic origin and was called a “bent copper” – shortly before the incident Zamanov worked as a police officer himself.
“Now we will rape you and send the video to prison,” – that was the threat by the head of Criminal Investigations”, – Elshan Zamanov recalled.
After such “treatment” they both confessed of being involved in car thefts, which was the police officers’ objective, however, on 18 May 2012 the criminal prosecution against Gasanov and Zamanov was dismissed due to their noninvolvement in the charged crimes.
However, this blunt fact did not prevent the accused and subsequently convicted police officer from playing their favourite game during all preliminary investigation and examination of the case in court – allegedly, honest police officers are put to trial because they were fighting the ethnic crime so hard.
A well-known in the Nizhny Novgorod region defender of the police officers’ rights Vasily Olnev came to their aid, and his words were echoed by journalist Yulia Latynina, who, as it often happens to her, based her arguments on everything possible, but not on the facts.
Head of the investigative group Yury Elantsev also mentioned the unprecedented pressure; he managed to hold his ground under pressure exerted by protectors of Avtozavodsky police officers, and after two and a half years the case was submitted to court.
The court hearing itself took another one and half years, involving over sixty court hearings, in the course of which the materials of forty four volumes of the criminal case were studied and over fifty witnesses were questioned.
On 19 April 2016 the court declared all the defendants guilty of committing the crime under item 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence”). Former Deputy Head of Police Department No.1 Vladimir Samsonov and former head of Criminal Investigation Sergey Alimov were convicted to 4 years and 6 months of conditional term, former head of department for property crimes Ivan Vechkanov – to 3 years and 8 months of conditional term, former senior officer of the criminal investigation department Sergey Nikolaev and former Deputy Head of Criminal Investigation Andrey Balandin – to 3 years and 6 months of conditional prison term; former officer of the property crimes department Evgeny Telenkov – to 3 years and 3 months of conditional term.
The parties of the trial did not agree with this verdict and appealed against it at the Nizhegorodsky Regional Court: the convicts and their lawyers intended to demand absolution, and the state prosecutor and the victims, in their turn, insisted that the court sentence of the police officers involved real jail time.
However, on 8 November of the same year a judicial panel comprising of three judges of the Nizhegorodsky Regional Court upheld the judgment of conviction without significant changes, having decreased the probation periods for the convicts by half a year.
In November 2017 lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the Nizhegorodsky Regional Court with a lawsuit demanding a compensation of moral damage inflicted by the crime of the ex-police officers from the Ministry of the Interior, amounting to one million rubles to Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov, each.
On 24 April 2018 judge of the Nizhegorodsky District Court Mariya Koteeva partially satisfied the claims on the lawsuit, having evaluated the amount of sufferings of each victim at three thousand rubles.
“This handout in the form of the three thousand rubles does not correspond not only to the norms of the European Court of Human Rights, but not even to the Russian practice, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Yulia Osipova, representing the interests of the victims, comments. – In the long history of our organization’s work we participated in about a hundred of such court hearings, but this is the lowest compensation for moral damage for torture that we have ever seen. All this despite the fact that the guilt of the six police officers in committing a grave crime is proven and the victims still suffer from stable post-traumatic condition. This is sheer humiliation, in the first place, of the justice itself. We shall definitely appeal against this court ruling in the part of the awarded compensation”.