Six police officers from Nizhny Novgorod are going to face trial on torture charges

Событие | Пресс центр

18 August 2014

Human rights defenders with INGO «Committee Against Torture» are informed that the investigation of a high-profile case in relation to law-enforcement officers of Avtozavodsky District of Nizhny Novgorod has been completed.  The district prosecutor has signed the indictment in the case of battery of Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov. Based on the investigation results six police officers are charged with several criminal episodes of exceeding official powers and one criminal episode of home invasion.  Now the case is going to be sent to the Avtozavodsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod.

(Photo: Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov)

As we have previously reported, on March 27, 2012 the Nizhny Novgorod office of the Committee Against Torture has received applications from Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov alleging they were subjected to unlawful violence by the police officers of Police Department no. 1 of Nizhny Novgorod Department of Interior.

«Such prolonged official investigation is explained by a number of challenges that the Investigative Committee officers had to face», – emphasized a lawyer with INGO «Committee Against Torture» Aleksey Matasov, who represented the interests of the victims. – These challenges involve the whole group of the accused who took part in different episodes, and a large number of the witnesses, and aggressive actions of the central office of the regional Department of Interior, which resulted in dismissal of one of the investigators from the case work. Despite all this the investigators of the first section of Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee for Nizhny Novgorod region have completed the preliminary investigation, having collected a considerable evidential basis. The indictment is over 1400 sheets».

Head of Investigations Section of Nizhny Novgorod office of INGO «Committee Against Torture» Dmitry Utukin: «The trial is going to be interesting. The accused are trying to strike the nationalist chord, using the dislike toward the Caucasians that some of our citizens feel.  The accused are building their argument on the fact that they, allegedly, were protecting the citizens from the Azeris dominance, and they, in their turn, are trying to accuse them of torture.  I think that this kind of rhetoric is just a pathetic attempt to turn the accused into heroes. As we have previously reported, seven police officers from  the Avtozavodsky District of Nizhny Novgorod were convicted for torture for the last three years. And that’s only for cases which we assisted in».