Residents of the Orenburg region accuse police officers of forcing to confess of a group rape


11 February 2021

Residents of the Orenburg region Vladimir Rassokhin, Sergey Vasyukov and Arman Tunykov accuse the police officers of applying tortures and brutal treatment against them in autumn of 2019 in order to force them to confess of a group rape of a fellow villager. After submittal of a torture complaint to the Investigative Committee, the investigators, having failed to perform a large number of necessary checking activities, refused to open a criminal case. At the present time, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture are insisting through the court action that the checking of the complaint against the police officers is resumed.

In October 2019, three residents of Nazarovka settlement of the Pervomayskiy District of the Orenburg region applied to the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance: Vladimir Rassokhin, Sergey Vasyukov and Arman Tunykov. They informed that in the night from 24 to 25 September 2019 each of them was taken from their homes by the police officers and delivered to the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Pervomayskiy District, where by tortures and threats they were forced to confess of a group rape of a fellow villager whom they spent the evening with the day before the apprehension.

That is how Rassokhin recalls the events of that night at the police department: “In order not to fall from blows for the face, I was holding on to the chair. After that I immediately received a punch in a solar plexus, due to that I lost breath. I started to outrage why they were beating me up and told them I had to go to work next day, and they started to laugh aloud. The one who hit me said: “Well, well, he’s going to work! There’s nothing for you but the prison camp!”

Later on, medics registered Vladimir with a bruise and an extravasation of the left periocular area.

Sergey Vasyukov also reported the battery: “The police officer started to beat my face with palms of his hands. The blows were hard. I felt giddiness and once I fell on the chairs after the blow. Then the police officer shouted at me, demanded that I stood up and lifted me up, holding my clothes. In total, he was beating me up for about 10 minutes and made about 5-7 blows. All this time he was demanding that I confessed of having committed a crime”.

Medics diagnosed Sergey with a bruise of the face and the anterior abdominal wall.

Arman Tunykov informs that he was not beaten by the police officers, but aimed at him, simulating the intention to perform a blow, expressed threats and insults, did not allow to go to the toilet as well as deprived of water and food.

The investigative authorities charged all the three persons of having committed a crime under item “a”, part 2 of Article 131 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“a group rape by previous concert”).

On the next day, in the course of the court hearing on selecting the measure of restraint, the victim informed that she engaged into sexual contact with them voluntarily and did not have any claims against them. Having listened to the opinions of the parties, the court put the defendants on house arrest.

The investigation, having failed to gather the evidence of a group rape, requalified their actions under part 1 of Article 133 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“forcing to acts of sexual nature”). As a result, the justice court declared all the three persons guilty of this crime and imposed a punishment in the form of a fine.

On 8 October 2019, Vladimir Rassokhin, Sergey Vasyukov and Arman Tunykov applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report with regard to the police officers’ abuse of office.

On 22 November 2019, Deputy Head of the Buzuluksky Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region Berik Umbetov issued a refusal to initiate criminal proceedings.

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture appealed against the investigator’s ruling, however, the court refused to examine the complaint, having pointed out that the human rights defenders’ letters of attorney are not notarized properly. The Orenburg Regional Court quashed the District Court’s ruling as illegal. As a result, the investigator’s ruling returned back to the same judge.

On 30 December 2020, the Buzuluksky District Court once again stopped the proceedings on the application. This time, it was due to the fact that judgement of conviction was passed with regard to applicants Vladimir Rassokhin, Sergey Vaskyukov and Arman Tunykov.

Human rights defenders did not agree with this conclusion of the court and applied to the superior court instance with an appellate appeal. The time for examination of the application by the Orenburg Regional Court has not yet been assigned.

“For one year we were insisting that the court examined the complaint against the refusal of the investigator. As a result, the court decided to stop the proceedings on the complaint due to the presence of the verdict according to which the applicants are declared guilty. At the same time, the verdict, which the judge refers to in his ruling, does not contain any data on tortures of Rassokhin, Vasyukov and Tunykov, neither does it provide the evaluation of the indicated circumstances, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments. – In case if the regional court does not agree to our arguments, we will be forced to apply to the European Court of Human Rights”.

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