Seven years of red tape is not a reason for compensation for moral damage


27 September 2018

Today, on 27 September 2018, the Orenburg Regional Court dismissed Aleksey Sinegubov’s lawsuit on compensation for moral damage inflicted to him by the Investigative Committee officers, who illegally refused to initiate a criminal case based on his complaint of police torture twenty one times during seven years. Now Mr Sinegubov has to wait for the ruling of the European Court on his complaint which was communicated to Russian authorities in June of this year.

On 6 September 2011, Nadezhda Sinegubova applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to her, her son Aleksey was tortured by the police officers. Later on, Aleksey applied to human rights defenders himself.

He reported that in the night from 23 to 24 February 2011 he went out to buy cigarettes. He was stopped near the food stall by the police officers who told him he should go to the police department with them because he fits the description of some wanted person.

– When we came to the police department, a girl went out, looked at me, and said, “This is him!” Then I was taken to the cell for the detained, – Aleksey recalls.

According to Sinegubov, the whole next day investigative officers “worked” with him – forced to confess of an assault related to robbery against the girl. Aleksey claims to have been humiliated, hit with a gas mask on his head, hit numerous times all over his body, blocked the air access with a plastic bag, as a result of which he lost consciousness. According to Aleksey, he never confessed of having committed this crime.

Late in the evening Sinegubov was taken to the temporary detention cell. There numerous bodily injuries were registered on him: “extravasations in the area of the right shoulder, in the area of axillary cavities, in the loin area on the left, on the chest area on the right, abrasion on the forehead on the right, abrasions on the hairy part of the head, abrasions on both wrists made by handcuffs, swelling of the knee joint on the right, the joint is limited in its movement”.

In July 2011, Aleksey Sinegubov was declared guilty of assault related to robbery. He was sentenced to five years of prison time. .

In March 2011, Sinegubov applied to the investigative authorities with a torture complaint. During the seven-years pre-investigative check twenty refusals to initiate criminal proceedings were issued, which were subsequently quashed as illegal and ungrounded at the initiative of lawyers with the Committee Against Torture. However, no criminal case was opened.

Having exhausted all possible remedies for restoring Sinegubov’s rights at the domestic level, in June 2014, human rights defenders submitted a complaint on his behalf to the European Court of Human Rights. After four years, the complaint was communicated: the Strasbourg court posed questions to the Russian Federation on whether the applicant was subjected to torture and whether the investigation of this incident was efficient.

In April of this year, lawyer with the Committee Against Torture applied to court in the interests of Aleksey Sinegubov with a lawsuit on compensation for moral damage inflicted to him by inefficient work of the investigators on his complaint against police torture.

On 14 June, judge of the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg, Oleg Mesyats, dismissed the lawsuit. Human rights defenders appealed against this ruling, however, the penal of judges of the Orenburg Regional Court, having listened to the parties, decided to uphold the ruling of the court of the first instance.

“Today our country had an opportunity to restore the violated rights of its citizen at least partially, by awarding him a compensation for moral damage for seven-years-long red tape during examination of this police torture complaint. Russia did not used this opportunity, and this, undoubtedly, will be taken into account by the European Court of Human Rights when passing a ruling in case of Aleksey Sinegubov, including with regard to the amount of compensation”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Denis Iskhakov is convinced.

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