Nizhny Novgorod office of the INGO “Committee Against Torture” received an application from an activist of the Left Front political movement Sergey Korneenko. He claims that on 5 August 2013 several strangers who identified themselves as police officers forced him into a car and, threatening him with bodily harm, took him to a place under the Molitovskiy bridge in Nizhny Novgorod. In the end the men brought him to the office of the Center for Combating Extremism under the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs for Nizhny Novgorod region. Following Sergey’s complaint the human rights defenders have initiated a public investigation.
(Photo: Sergey Korneenko)
Sergey told our lawyers that on August 5, when his work day was over, he went out into the street and immediately received a phone call from an unknown number, but the connection was lost at once. After that an unknown young man came over and, claiming to be a police officer, invited Sergey to follow him to the police station for an interrogation. The man refused to show his police ID and to give any other official details of his. Instead of that he started threatening and made Sergey get into his car. In the car there were two other young men and an older one. None of them agreed to identify himself.
According to Sergey, the car took him not to the police station, but to the bank of the River Oka, under the Molitovskiy bridge. Having noted that “it was a quiet place, and dead bodies were often found in the area”, the strangers started questioning him concerning resent arson attacks on churches in Nizhny Novgorod. During half an hour they were threatening and slapping him in the face trying to make the activist give false confession statements against himself and his alleged accomplices. Having failed to obtain the statements, the men took him to the Center for Combating Extremism under the Main Directorate of Internal Affairs for Nizhny Novgorod region, where they were allowed through the access gate.
The applicant states that in the Center for Combating Extremism premises he was questioned about activity of the Left Front movement. Sergey complained to the policemen about the unlawful detention and ill-treatment, but was interrupted, for the policemen “were not interested”. Sergey was released at about 9 p.m. that day.
A lawyer with the Committee Against Torture, Evgeniy Chilikov, comments on the situation: “It would be premature to draw final conclusions at this time. We have just initiated our public investigation. We are also preparing a crime complaint to be submitted to the Investigative Committee. Still I would like to call special attention to the extremely dangerous situation of unlawful persecutions against social activists in Nizhny Novgorod. Likewise, an activist of the political party The Other Russia (Drugaya Rossiya), Aleksandr Zaitsev, was recently abducted, taken to the forest and beaten up”.