Sterlitamaksky City Court of Bashkortostan sentenced Rosgvardiya officer Aleksey Lapshov, who hit and illegally detained long distance driver Aleksandr Artamonov, to three years of conditional term. The court found him guilty of abuse of office using violence and special equipment (items “a” and “b” of Part 3, Article 286 of the Criminal Code). He is also prohibited from taking positions of state officials for two years.
The incident happened in September 2020. Artamonov parked at a fueling station to fix some failure, but a woman from the fueling station staff demanded that he removed his truck and called for police. Soon, two Rosgvardiya officers arrived. Without introducing themselves or showing their ID, they demanded that Artamonov left, using rude language. Then, Lapshov hit the long distance driver first in the face, then his hand in which Aleksandr was holding a mobile phone, making a video record of the incident.
Artamonov was taken to the Department of the Interior for Sterlitamak, but the police officers refused to draw up a protocol on him, because the long distance driver’s actions did not contain any element of crime. Despite that, he was detained for ten hours without food or water at the department. In addition, Artamonov was prohibited from sleeping and his phone was seized.
In the morning, he was taken for medical examination, which registered contusions on the face, wrists and elbow. Later on, Artamonov managed to collect his phone and he made a call to the Prosecutor’s Office. After the visit of the Prosecutor’s assistant, Aleksandr was released and he submitted a crime report. Then, he applied to the hospital, where his traumas were confirmed.
A month later, the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for Bashkortostan opened a case on abuse of office against Lapshov. In April 2021, Artamonov applied to the Committee Against Torture. After human rights defenders intervened in the case, the investigative activities were performed — face-to-face confrontations and the examination of the scene of the incident. As a result, in August the case was submitted to court.
— We were not surprised with the verdict a bit, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Evgeny Litvinov comments. — Firstly, because the conditional term for abuse of office is an already established tendency. Secondly, such a punishment is acceptable in this case, considering mitigating circumstances — Lapshov has three small kids who depend on him. However, we decided to appeal against the verdict, because the court ignored our request to strip him off the special rank and state awards. We think that the man who applied tortures should not be called “a retired policeman” so that no one could gather a wrong impression that he quit the law-enforcement himself and not by the court verdict.