Today the European Court of Human Rights has delivered a decree in the case of Sergey Lyapin from Nizhny Novgorod. Strasburg judges acknowledged the fact of Sergy’s tortures and established that the investigative authorities did not conduct adequate investigation of this fact. Mr.Lyapin is awarded a compensation in the
(Photo: Sergey Lyapin)
The story of a father of five children, who applied for legal assistance to Nizhny Novgorod branch of the Committee Against Torture is the following. According to Sergey, during the night of April 24-25 he was collecting scrap metal near one of garage blocks of Ilyinogorskoye settlement of the Volodarskiy district of Nizhny Novgorod region. All of a sudden he was detained by officers from the Volodarskiy police department, as he was told, «on suspicion of committing thefts». According to Mr. Lyapin he was taken to the police station where the police officers first beat him up and then started torturing him with electricity. Sergey recollects: «For higher efficiency they poured water on electric contacts and my hands. I lost my consciousness several times».
Later the detainee was subject to the investigation formalities and the judge of the peace sentenced Sergey to 5 days of administrative arrest «for disobeying the police», after that he was sent to a special detention centre to serve his sentence.
Next day Mr. Lyapin grew worse and he was taken in an ambulance right from his cell first to a district trauma station and then to hospital. Mr.Lyapin’s diagnosis featured concussion, neck regions injury, chest contusion, thermal burns on both hands. After getting out of hospital Mr.Lyapin continued the treatment as an out-patient.
(Photos were taken by the victim’s wife on 26 April 2008)
After two days of medical treatment (Sergey never completed serving his time of administrative punishment) Lyapin applied to the investigative authorities with complaint against the police officers. However, the enquiry based on this complaint and held by Dzerzhinsk Interdistrict Investigation Department of the Investigation Administration of the Investigation Committee under the RF Prosecutor’s Office for Nizhny Novgorod region was conducted extremely inefficiently. Within a time period of 1.5 years the investigators refused initiating criminal case minimum 10 times, 9 refusals were ruled illegal.
Having exhausted all domestic remedies at national level human rights defenders had to lodge a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.
One of Sergey Lyapin’s representatives at the ECHR Anton Ryzhov pointed out several important aspects of the today’s decree: «Firstly, Strasbourg has utterly defeated the arguments of the Russian party, having acknowledged that Sergey is right. Moreover, the Court acknowledged that the degree of violence against Lyapin amounted to torture, including due to applying of electricity. The ECHR also pointed out that the absence of initiated case in itself became the cause of inefficiency of the subsequent investigation. And the amount of awarded compensation also was a pleasant surprise».
Head of Investigations Section of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Nizhny Novgorod branch Dmitry Utukin: «Statute of limitations under this case has not expired yet. It would be quite easy to establish who was guilty of torture since the evidence in the case is not lost. We hope that after the decision of the European Court of Human Rights the Investigative Committee will take a principled stand in Sergey Lyapin’s case, the investigation will be completed and the proceedings will be referred to court. This case is a cloud on the reputation of law-enforcement officers of Nizhny Novgorod region, which should be urgently dissipated».