Policemen apologized to their victim, and promised to improve their knowledge of Russian laws

Событие | Пресс центр

19 December 2013

Orenburg policemen apologized to Sergey Ivanov who was permanently injured by criminal investigation officer Oleg Litvishko. The apology was made five months after the latter’s conviction, and only after lawyers working with the Committee Against Torture had reminded the police about their relevant obligation under the Federal Law on Police. The police then thanked human rights defenders for «civic-mindedness», initiated internal inquiry, and arranged additional training for the staff to gain better knowledge of applicable laws and orders.

In March 2012 Orenburg citizen Sergey Ivanov applied to the Orenburg regional branch of the Committee Against Torture seeking help. The man told the human rights defenders that on 14 March 2012 he was battered severely by a policeman. Later Sergey underwent a surgery to have his spleen removed.

According to the man, that unfortunate evening he, together with his acquaintance Nikolay Savilov, was walking home when a policeman, Oleg Litvishko, came over and asked for identification documents. Nikolay had his passport with him, but Sergey appeared to have left it home. At the policeman’s suggestion the two men agreed to go with him to Ivanov’s place to check the ID. Hardly had the police car started moving, the policeman took of his jacket and began beating the friends. After several hard blows Sergey fainted, and regained consciousness at police station already. He was placed into a cell to spend there about an hour complaining of abdominal pain, crying and asking for help. When ambulance was called for at last, it took the man to Pirogov City Clinical Hospital. Sergey Ivanov was diagnosed with splenic rupture, fractured rib and numerous local bruises. He was urgently operated on and had his injured spleen surgically removed.

Public investigation conducted by the Committee Against Torture lawyers confirmed the applicant’s complaints.

On 17 March 2012, following Sergey Ivanov’s application, criminal proceedings based on the fact of infliction of great bodily injury upon him were initiated. Further, the investigation established that the policeman Oleg Litvishko was implicated in the crime. Almost immediately after the events the perpetrator escaped from the region, so the investigator had to put him on the federal wanted list. Quite soon he was found in Moscow. On 29 March 2012 the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Orenburg city, granting request of the Investigative Committee, remanded the Accused in custody.

On 25 March 2013 the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Orenburg city delivered the sentence against Oleg Litvishko. He was found guilty of criminal offenses under article 286 (3) (a) and (c) of the RF Criminal Code (exceeding official powers committed with the use of violence with the infliction of grave consequences) and sentenced to 4-year prison term to be served in general regime (minimum security) penal colony.

Lawyers working with the Committee Against Torture believed the sentence to be too mild, so they appealed against it before the Orenburg Regional Court, which on 20 May 2013 upheld the sentence passed by the first instance court. Now, the next complaint lodged by the Committee lawyers is pending before the  Court of Cassation (the Orenburg Regional Court Presidium).

Despite the fact that the conviction against criminal investigation officer Oleg Litvishko entered into force in May this year, local police superiors didn’t seem to be willing to bring their apologies to Segrey Ivanov who had become victim to their officer’s unlawful acts.

Having understood, that police superiors were not going to abide by the Law on Police (which obliges them to bring public official apology to every person who became victim to unlawful acts of their subordinate policemen) on their own initiative, lawyers with the Committee applied to the Head of the Directorate of the Interior for Orenburg region with official request to follow the existing law of the Russian Federation.

«In our practice, this is the first instance when police superiors have found courage to apologize to a person who suffered from ill-treatment of their colleague», says a lawyer working with the Orenburg regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» Evgeniy Proshin. «Pity, it was not their initiative, not personal sincere intention of the Department Head to apologize for his subordinate. Unfortunately, this decision was preceded by our request. I hope, policemen will abide by the law without our reminders in the future».