Random instigation of criminal proceedings upon the fact of ill-treatment by the Orenburg police aggravates the torture practice


23 March 2012

On March 22, 2012 the mother of Sergey Ivanov who had lost his lien as a result of police abuse was notified about the decision on instigation of criminal proceedings under p.1 of Article 111 of the Russian Criminal Code “Intentional infliction of grave damage to health”. Sergey is currently in hospital for post-surgery treatment.

We would like to remind you that at night on March 14 Sergey Ivanov was going home when a Gazel-type police car stopped beside him. A police officer asked Sergey to produce his documents. Sergey did not have identification documents on him and suggested that they should accompany him home so that he could fetch his passport. The police agreed to do so, but as soon as Sergey got inside the car, he was cruelly beaten. Once in police department no.3, Mr. Ivanov was placed in a cell. His condition grew worse every minute, the detainee was calling for help and asking the police to summon an ambulance, but no one paid attention to him except his cell-mates. Finally, an ambulance was called in and Sergey was taken to hospital for an urgent surgery which resulted in removal of his injured lien.

It is stated on the official web-site of the Orenburg Regional Prosecutor’s Office that “at the initial investigation stage allegations of unlawful conduct of law enforcers was confirmed, therefore, last Tuesday the investigative authority instigated criminal proceedings under p.3 of article 286 of the Russian Criminal Code (abuse of office with violent treatment). At present investigative steps are being taken to identify individuals in charge of the crime”.

However, the Committee Against Torture notes that instigation of criminal proceedings under Sergey Ivanov’s application, and especially, within the shortest period, is a rare exception from the established practice of investigating into police abuse allegations.  It can be inferred from the public investigation experience that criminal proceedings are instigated only if the incident receives wide coverage and the victim either dies (Armen Sargsyan died in police department no. 2 in Orenburg on November 18, 2011) or sustains grave bodily harm, like Sergey Ivanov. At the same time, criminal proceedings have not been instigated under numerous facts of police abuse, for instance V.V. Arkhipov’s ill-treatment by the traffic police, T.I. Zhumagazeyev’s ill-treatment in police department no.3 under the Orenburg Interior Directorate, A.B. Sinegubov’s ill-treatment in police department no.2 in Orenburg, etc. and perpetrators remain unpunished.

CAT lawyers believe that connivance demonstrated by investigative authorities is one of key reasons why police abuse is still widespread in Orenburg and Orenburg region.

It must be noted that the public is not ignoring tortures by the Orenburg police.  On March 22, 2012 activists of the Orenburg Youth Movement disturbed by another battery organized individual pickets in front of the 3rd police department with banners “Off with sadists from police department no.3”.

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