Termless Protest activist who reported about battery by the police officer, submitted an application to the ECHR

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24 July 2020

Termless Protest activist who reported about battery by the police officer, submitted an application to the ECHR

Today, 24 July 2020, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Termless protest participant Dmitry Baturo. The applicant complained of illegal use of physical violence against him by the police officer and the fact that the Investigative Committee refused even to perform the check of this application. The investigators referred to the fact that Baturo’s complaint may be regarded as “an attempt to discredit state authority representatives”.

In October 2018, Dmitry Baturo applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to him, on 6 October 2018, he participated in the rally against the pension reform, which was taking place opposite the building of the Moscow Government. The participants of the event did not shout any slogans and did not demonstrate any visual means of agitation, but just were clapping hands.

After some short time, five participants of the event, including Dmitry Baturo, were apprehended by the officers of the 2nd Operational unit of the Ministry of the Interior for Moscow with the use of physical force and were taken to the special police bus. When in the bus, the apprehended demanded that the police officers introduced themselves and explained the reason for their apprehension, as well as drew up protocols on apprehension. Having failed to receive any response from the police officers, Dmitry started to move to the exit from the bus, which at that time was not moving. According to Dmitry, at the moment when he tried to press a button opening the doors, the police officer who was standing nearby, hit him with his knee in the chest area, after that Dmitry felt sharp pain in the area of lower ribs, bent by halves and fell on the nearest seat. During the whole trip to the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Tverskoy District of Moscow (about half an hour) Dmitry experienced a sharp pain and asked the police officers to call for an ambulance but they never did that.

Upon arrival to the police department the police officers dragged Dmitry on asphalt inside the building, as he could not move on his own. Ambulance which arrived on calls of other apprehended hospitalized Dmitry to the Scientific-Research Institute named after Sklifosovsky, where he spent seven days.

Upon the completion of treatment, Dmitry applied to the expert agency to conduct a medical expert examination. The specialist concluded that the “blunt trauma of the abdomen (in all appearance, with the forming of a rupture of the cardiac opening of the diaphragm and microdamage of the pancreatic gland with the forming of increased amylase activity in the blood) is in direct cause-and-effect relationship with the blow in the abdomen received on 6 October 2018. The blunt abdomen trauma led to mild health damage”.

On 25 October 2018, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the Investigative Department for the Tverskoy District with the Investigative Committee for Moscow with a report of a crime conducted by a police officer. This report was supported by Baturo’s medical documentation and explanations of the witnesses.

On the same day, Acting Deputy Head of this investigative department Dmitry Gubin, instead of conducting a pre-investigative check, forwarded this crime report to the Department of Interior for the Central Administrative District of Russia for Moscow to organize an agency check.

Having obtained a conclusion for this Ministry of the Interior agency check and without conducting his own pre-investigative check, head of the Investigative Department for the Tverskoy District of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Moscow Vladimir Chernobrivy replied to human rights defenders on 4 March 2019: “Explanations of D.A.Baturo and his associates D.Yu.Afonin and V.A.Khlynov are not confirmed objectively, whereas the explanations of police officers of the Police office No.2 with the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for Moscow are logical and consistent. No objective evidence was provided to confirm that the above-mentioned persons exceeded their authority, i.e., performed actions obviously beyond their authority which led to significant violation of rights and lawful interests of citizens with the use of violence, special equipment, and also with inflicting other grave consequences. In their turn, actions of D.A.Baturo may be regarded as an attempt to discredit power authorities representatives, with regard to this D.A.Baturo raises the issue on bringing the indicated persons to criminal responsibility without providing the investigative authority with concrete data on the elements of crime”.

“We provided more than twenty applications to the superior departments of the Investigative Committee, the Prosecutor’s Office and the court concerning the illegal refusal to conduct a pre-investigative check under the grounded crime report, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Georgiy Ivanov comments. – In response we received only formal replies and the arguments of our applications were ignored”.

Only after one year of work, on 14 November 2019, human rights defenders managed to obtain a motivated ruling from the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow, which, however, was not in favor of Dmitry. The court declared the refusal of the Investigative Committee to conduct a check of the crime report to be legal.

“At the same time the court completely distanced itself from the evaluation of the arguments of the applicant, disclosed by him in the crime report, and articulated an outrageous legal position, according to which only the investigator himself decides whether to conduct a check of the crime report or not, based on reasons known only to himself”, – Georgiy Ivanov emphasizes.

This court ruling was appealed by human rights defenders on appeal, however, on 17 February 2020 the Moscow City Court dismissed the applicant, having agreed with the conclusions of the court of the first instance.

“Having exhausted all legal remedies available in Russia, today we submitted a complaint against the actions of Russian authorities to the European Court of Human Rights, – Georgiy Ivanov continues. – We point out the fact that Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“Prohibition of Torture”) was violated with regard to Dmitry Baturo, because Russia did not conduct a thorough and effective investigation of the grounded application on the use of illegal violence by the police officers”.