Strasbourg is going to deal with the rights of a citizen from Nizhny Novgorod region

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10 December 2014

Today, on 10 December 2014, on the International Day of Human Rights (on this day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), lawyers working with the Committee Against Torture lodged a complaint with the Strasbourg court in the interests of Igor Kolosunin, a citizen from Nizhny Novgorod region. Unfortunately, once again the conflict between the representatives of the state and a citizen and the establishment of human rights violation, in case there have been any, shall be the subject of proceedings at Strasborg and not at a national level. 

(Photo: © AFP/ Olivier Morin)

Igor Kolosunin from Arzamas (Nizhny Novgorod region) applied to Nizhny Novgorod branch of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» in December 2013. According to Igor he was detained by the police officers on 16 February at his home and taken to the police department of Vyksa town. There he was brutally kicked and hit by the police officers who demanded that he confessed of thefts, moreover – they threatened to rape him, recording the process with the mobile phone for subsequent demonstration of this record at the isolation ward. Having failed to withstand the abuse late in the evening Kolosunin signed a full confession. On the next day Igor told about the tortures by the police officers to his lawyer who lodged an appropriate complaint to law-enforcement agencies.   

On 18 February Kolosunin was examined by a forensic medical examiner who detected a range of injuries: bruises of the face, right elbow joint, right lower leg and chest on the left side,  left forearm, abrasions of the left lower leg and wrist joints, as well as wounds in the area of the left bend of elbow.

As to the complaint about torture in the police department, on 25 March 2011 the investigator of the Vyksa Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation refused to initiate criminal proceedings, having been satisfied by evidence from the police officers only, who allegedly used force during the detention of Kolosunin, who was actively struggling. Let’s note the fact that the questioning of the applicant himself, and his mother and wife who were present during the detention, was conducted only a year after by investigators of Arzamas Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. Notably, during this check the police investigator who wrote a report of search in Kolosunin’s flat, gave evidence that no-one inflicted any bodily injury to the man. 

Despite obvious contradictions between the evidence of the police officers who took part in Kolosunin’s detention the investigators never found grounds for initiating criminal proceedings over a statement about torture. Totally for this case there have been issued seven refusals to open a criminal case, the last one of them dated 3 March 2014. 
   
The Vyksunsky City Court also did not consider signing a full confession under torture a proven fact, and on 25 February 2014 passed a guilty verdict for Igor Kolosunin based on part 4 of Article 158 (theft) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and    sentenced him to 4 years of prison term in a standard regime penal colony.

«I would like to point out that our another applicant, Oleg Krayushkin, complained against the same police officers, and last year we even succeeded in initiating criminal proceedings, which was, however, already four times suspended due to failure to identify the guilty party, – explains the head of the department of investigations of Nizhny Novgorod branch of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Dmitry Utukin. – Now we lodge a complaint against this order, but it is obvious that the investigative authorities again shall try to do everything in their power for the guilty party to escape liability. The fact that another complaint to the European Court is applied on the International Day of Human Rights is, unfortunately, symbolic – despite certain improvements from the part of the state in the area of implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the situation with violations of the latter in our country still remains worrying. Thus, the citizens often have to apply to the European Court of Human Rights via the human rights defenders in order to restore their violated rights. Such applications result in deteriorating of the citizens’ confidence not only in relation to the law-enforcement system, justice of investigation and court proceedings, but to the state in general».