Today the European Court of Human Rights has passed another decision in relation to a complaint of our fellow-citizen, who complained about police torture and inefficient investigation of this incident at the national level. The Strasbourg judges unanimously declared that the Russian Federation has committed a number of violations of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with regards to its citizen and awarded a compensation in the amount of 30 000 euro to be paid to the applicant.
Sergey Fartushin from Sarov town of the Nizhny Novgorod region applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance after the May holidays back in 2008. He complained to have been beaten up by the Chief of the Criminal Investigation of Sarov. Fartushin reported that on 5 May 2008 a criminal investigator of the Internal Affairs Department of Sarov called him and asked to attend his office for a conversation. In the appointed time he arrived at the building of the Internal Affairs Department in a car accompanied by his friends. A pass was issued for him and he went to the office where he was called to.
According to Sergey, there he met the investigator who had called him previously, and in the course of a dialogue he suggested that Sergey voluntarily confessed of ten thefts from garages. Naturally, Sergey refused. Then the police officer handcuffed him and brought him to another room, where he met with the Chief of the Criminal Investigation.
«He hit me many times in the torso area, in the face, jumped on my head with all his weight, broke my golden chain and a tee-shirt», – Fartushin described this meeting. As to the subordinate, he limited his participation in the «operative meeting» to threats and demands to «confess of everything otherwise it’ll be worse». But Sergey did not want to sign anything and «take the blame on himself».
According to Sergey, he was detained for over a day in the Internal Affairs Department offices in the battered state, he was neither fed nor provided medical assistance, despite the poor state of his health: he was constantly vomiting with blood.
Only in the evening of the next day the Sergey’s apprehension was formalized. He was taken to the temporary detention facility in the same Internal Affairs Department building. A part of his bodily injuries were registered in the temporary detention cell, and Fartushin was provided with medical assistance, as well. The doctor who arrived at his call helped him, but documented only the gastric ulcer.
Fartushin’s wife Irina and his friend Sergey were staying near the Internal Affairs Department for the whole time. They were explained in the Internal Affairs Department that Sergey was apprehended, and later on a police officer came out of the building, gave them the car keys, explaining that they could be off, since Sergey was «apprehended for long». On the next day Irina hired a lawyer who met with the detainee and reported that the latter had a lot of scratches and bruises all over him. In the presence of a lawyer Fartushin submitted a complaint to the Prosecutor’s Office against the illegal actions of the police officers. On the same day the lawyer applied to the Committee Against Torture for help. Medical examination conducted in five days time established that Fartushin had numerous scratches and bruises.
It has to be pointed out that Sergey spent seven months in the investigation cell, after that the case against him was closed due to a settlement between the parties.
Only during the first year from the moment of submittal of a complaint against his battery the Sarov investigators issued six refusals to initiate criminal proceedings which were appealed against by the lawyers of the Committee Against Torture and subsequently quashed as illegal. Having exhausted all domestic remedies, the human rights defenders, representing the interests of Mr. Fartushin, were forced to apply to the European Court of Human Rights.
Today, on 8 October 2015, the Strasbourg judges have unanimously established that the Russian Federation has committed three violations of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with regards to the applicant – of Article 3 in the part of torture prohibition and the obligation to conduct an effective official investigation, as well as of Article 5 in the part of illegal custodial restraint of Mr.Fartushin. For these violations the European Court of Human Rights awarded a compensation in the amount of 30 000 euro.
«Unfortunately, Sergey Fartushin has not lived to see the today’s decision of the European Court, since last year he died in a car crash, and due to this fact it’s his relatives who would get the compensation. However, it is not a substitute for initiating the investigation and instituting criminal proceedings against the guilty police officers. We shall definitely continue our work in this direction. The law-enforcement officers, who used illegal methods in their work, shall know about the unavoidability of punishment for their crimes», – lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Albert Kuznetsov comments on the situation.
According to Anton Ryzhov, who represents Sergey Fartushin in the European Court of Human Rights, the ECHR came to the conclusion that the fact of illegal violence is proved based on the accumulation of medical documentation, witnesses’ testimonies and admittance of all the violations, mentioned in the complaint, by the Russian Federation itself. In addition, the refusal of the Investigative Committee of the RF to initiate the criminal case based on Mr.Fartushin application made it impossible to conduct a thorough and effective investigation, as the Convention demands. «It is rather interesting that the Court also admitted the fact of illegal custody restraint of Sergey, – added Ryzhov. – The ECHR considered it to be proven that according to the documents the applicant was apprehended only in the evening of 6 May 2008, whereas actually he was under custody restraint since 5 May when he arrived to the building of the Internal Affairs Department. This circumstance, in the opinion of judges, led to failure of Fartushin to use his right for a lawyer as well as his other rights, and eventually it all ended in torture».