Professional "heart weakness"


25 January 2017

In the news agencies feeds from time to time we bump across the news that at some police department or Pre-Trial Detention Facility cell suddenly a man died, a check is arranged, based on which the procedural ruling will be made. We are going to tell you what is behind these formal wordings and what is going on very often in reality – using the example of two our cases.

The case of Sergey Protasov.

On 28 January 2014 Mikhail Protasov applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance – he asked human rights defenders to conduct public investigation of the death of his brother Sergey, who died on 21 January of the same year at hospital after he was taken there from the special detention room of the Ministry of the Interior for the administratively arrested. Mikhail was convinced that one way or the other it was the police officers who were responsible for his brother’s death.

Human rights defenders immediately submitted a crime report to the Investigative Committee, the latter predictably replied with a refusal to initiate criminal proceedings. This and the following five refusals were appealed against by the human rights defenders, declared illegal, and quashed.

In the framework of the public investigation lawyers of the Committee Against Torture examined the video record from the surveillance camera of Police Department No.7 where Protasov was taken from the special detention room for drawing up a report of administrative violation – he was in the state of drug intoxication.

In the course of this video record examination it turned out that the official version stating that numerous hematomas on Protasov’s body could develop due to his own unconscious actions was confirmed. At the same time the video record revealed at least three more violations: rough treatment of administratively arrested Protasov by the police officers, failure to apply special means of restrain of movement, failure to render medical assistance to a person in a helpless state by the police officers during a long time, failure to render medical assistance by an ambulance paramedic.

In addition, in the course of the public investigation human rights defenders received a copy of the materials of the check performed by the officers of the field investigation unit of the Internal Security Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for the Nizhny Novgorod region. Based on its results it was revealed that the actions of one of the officers of Police Department No.7 showed the elements of crime under part 2 Article 293 of the Criminal Code of Russia («Neglect of duty»): «Improper performance by (full name of the police officer – note of editor) of his duty due to careless or negligent attitude led to inflicting grave bodily injuries to administratively arrested S.A.Protasov and his subsequent death».

Despite the conducted agency check, thus far the Investigative Committee officers have issued nine refusals to initiate criminal proceedings against the police officers – another refusal is being appealed against by human rights defenders. No criminal case was initiated against the paramedics either – according to the opinion of the police officer of the same police department No 7, actions of the medics lack “express malice” directed on non-providing medical assistance to the afflicted person.

The case of Andrey Mochalin.

Andrey Mochalin from Vyksy of Nizhny Novgorod region was luckier. After his stay in the Temporary Detention Cell of the local police department he survived – hospital doctors made it in time to save his life.

Andrey Mochalin applied to the Committee for Prevention of Torture on 9 March 2016. In the course of public investigation the following was revealed. On 5 December 2015 Mochalin was found behind the garages in unconscious state and in narcoma, and was taken to hospital for medical assistance. There he started  to come to senses and behave inadequately, he fell from the couch.

The police officers, who were questioned later on, stated that the man was hitting against the floor and the surrounding objects with his hands, feet, head and body, and that was the reason of his bodily injuries. After that he was taken to the police department, then – for medical examination to the narcological dispensary, after that – again to the police department. At the same time the police officers did not inflict any bodily injuries to the applicant, but on the contrary – tried to limit his mobility so as to avoid them, moved the patient on their hands, put his coat under his head.

At the same time, the video record from the hospital demonstrates that the investigation theory on applicant’s inflicting bodily injuries to himself may be disputed. 

For example, in the video record Mochalin indeed performs chaotic movements with his hands and feet, moves about the floor, and two police officers try to hold him. At some moment Mochalin indeed fell from the couch and hit his face against the wall, however, after that the police officers limited his mobility and video records do not feature him inflicting bodily injuries to himself.

Meanwhile, the actions of the police officers recorded in the video, bear the marks of abusive treatment of Andrey. For example, at one point one of the police officers started to pull Mochalin by his handcuffs, in this manner dragging him along the floor of the reception ward. In addition, the police officer steps on the patient’s feet in order to hold them, and some time later inflicts a blow.

Moreover, according to Mochalin, after he was taken to the premises of the Vyksunsky police department, one of the police officers escorting him, informed other officers who were present in this room, that “Andrey misbehaved” at the hospital. According to Mochalin, this was followed by a hit on the head with a blunt object from the back: the police officers  together with people in civilian clothes hit him with hands, feet and police truncheons, pulled him along the corridor by handcuffs to the neighboring office room, where they also hit him several times. 

(Photo: Andrey Mochalin at the hospital)

On the next day the justice of the sentenced Mochalin to three days of apprehension for his refusal to pass medical examination. After Andrey was placed to the Temporary Detention Facility cell of the Department of Interior for Vyksa town the duty officer noticed poor health condition of the delivered person and called for an ambulance. Having examined the patient, the doctor gave him a shot. In the morning of 7 December, due to deterioration in Mochalin’s health condition, the team of paramedics was called again. According to Andrey, the emergency doctor summarized, addressing to the Temporary Detention Facility officers, “Guys, he’s dying, I’m taking him away from you!”

Mochalin was urgently transported to the district hospital, where he was admitted to the surgery department and underwent a surgery. According to the discharge summary, upon his arrival to the Vyksa District Hospital Andrey Mochalin was diagnosed with:  «Blunt abdominal trauma, necrosis of large intestine, acute renal failure, intestinal bleeding without the identified source, severe anaemia».

After the surgery Mochalin stayed in hospital for in-patient treatment for twenty five days. Three times his condition worsened and he was moved to intensive care.

The crime report submitted to the Investigative Committee resulted in four refusals to initiate criminal proceedings.
These cases were described in application addressed to Minister of the Interior of Russia Vladimir Kolokoltsev with a request to perform a check, as well as to consider the improvement of departmental normative regulation with regard to treatment of citizens in the state of alcoholic intoxication by the police officers.
«We received a reply to our application from the department of internal security of the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for the Nizhny Novgorod region, where, apparently, our application was redirected from Moscow. In this reply it was stated that in case of Protasov a number of police department No 7 officers were brought to disciplinary action, and claims of Mochalin’s battery remained unconfirmed by “objective data”, – lawyer of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Sergey Shounin comments.
No reaction from the Ministry of the Interior of Russia on the issue of improvement of departmental normative regulation with regard to treatment of citizens in the state of alcoholic intoxication by the police officers arrived whatsoever.

«We have two examples, when a person is taken to the police department in the state of alcoholic intoxication, and then he is urgently hospitalized in grave health condition. At the same time, the actions of police officers and paramedics raise a lot of questions, – lawyer of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Vladimir Smirnov emphasizes. – In the cases which we describe the state has not only to perform a thorough investigation of the incident, but also to evaluate the professionalism of the police officers’ actions with the applicants, and whether they were provided with medical assistance timely and promptly. Unfortunately, so far we see neither the efficient investigation nor reaction to our application on improvement of departmental normative regulations in this regard».

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