For the second time, the Investigative Committee refused to open a criminal case with regard to a complaint of Vladislav Vorobyev from Sterlitamak against the police officers, who, according to him, were forcing him to confess of arson attacks on vehicles, as well as threatened to rape him with a rubber truncheon. Once again, investigator Dmitry Pergushev refused to open a criminal case, despite the fact that he did not establish or question the eye-witnesses of the apprehension and subsequent applying physical force against Vorobyev, as well as limited himself to only formal medical forensic examination, during which the specialist failed to provide an answer to any of the questions.
As we have previously reported, on 16 December 2019, Vladislav Vorobyev from the Republic of Bashkortostan applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. He told human rights defenders that in the evening of 25 November three police officers apprehended him in the yard of his own house and took him to the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Sterlitamaksky District. There, according to Vladislav, the police officers were beating him up, threatened to rape with a rubber truncheon in order to obtain a confession of arson attacks on several vehicles.
“The police officers pulled my hands behind my back and handcuffed me, brought me down on the floor in the middle of the room. I was sitting on the floor, one of the police officers brought a towing rope and tied my feet with it. After that, the police officers made me draw in my feet, kicking me, so I found myself in the so-called lotus pose. One of the officers got round me from the back and sat on my back. He started to press me to my feet and let go, after that he repeated that again. I started to shout that I was in pain and out of breath. This lasted for no less than fifteen minutes. The police officers hit me against the head, one of them kicked me in the stomach, – Vorobyev recalls. – At some point one of the police officers lowered my trousers. I felt some solid object was pressing against my buttocks. One of the police officers told me that I should confess of everything, otherwise I will learn what PR-74 is. I realized that the police officers may rape me with this object, so I told them I would confess of everything”.
According to Vyacheslav, the police officers started to ask him questions about the arson attacks on vehicles providing options for answers. Each time he replied incorrectly, the police officers hit his head. As a result, the police officers printed out his explanation which stated that he committed arson attacks on vehicles as instructed by his brother. Vladislav signed this explanation. For the night Vorobyev was left at the police department, and in the morning of the next day the police officers demanded that he signed a full confession.
“In the morning of 26 November, two police officers entered the room where I was. They were from the Department of the Interior of Russia for Sterlitamak. One of them kicked my left foot, after that he made a series of blows at my using fists. After that the police officers brought me to the opposite room. There, in the presence of two other officers, the policemen gave me a series of blows at my shoulders, spine and kidneys, – Vladislav describes. – Sometime later the police officers returned. They brought forms for confession and dictated the text to me. Fearing they would beat me up more, I wrote it and signed everything”.
According to Vorobyev, after that he was taken to the adjacent building on the territory of the Department of the Ministry of Interior of Russia for Sterlitamak, where he was interrogated by the investigator.
“During the interrogation I provided the evidence which was typed by the police officers. I gave this sheet of paper to the investigator and he re-typed everything. After the interrogation I was taken to the room where I was kept during the night. At some point I was left alone in the room with a police officer who had been beating me up before the interrogation, – Vladislav describes. – He told me that if he met me once again, he’d shoot me in the head. At that moment he took out his gun and pointed it at me. I got scared and thought he’d shoot me, but after some time the police officer put the gun away”.
According to Vladislav, after that the police officers took him to his apartment, where a search was conducted in the presence of the attesting witnesses. In the course of the search the police officers seized Vorobyev’s personal belongings.
After that the police officers delivered Vorobyev to the Sterlitamaksky City Court where a measure of restraint was selected for him in the form of the house arrest and prohibition of certain actions. At court Vladislav reported that after the apprehension he was beaten up by the police officers.
After the court hearing, the police officers took Vladislav to the first aid station of the Sterlitamal Clinical Hospital, where he was provided with medical support.
According to the medical examination note, Vladimir Vorobyev was inflicted the following bodily injuries: “Blunt injury of the abdomen, bruises, abrasions of the soft tissues of the abdomen, contused wounds of both hands, line of demarcation lines of both wrist joints, stretching of the capsular ligamentous apparatus from both sides, stretching of the left ankle joint ligaments”.
On 16 December, the investigator, investigating the criminal case on arsoning of the vehicles, quashed Vorobyev’s measure of restraint in the form of house arrest and prohibition of certain actions due to the fact that Vladislav was not charged with this crime in the established procedure.
On 18 December, lawyer with the Committee Against Torture applied on behalf of Vladislav Vorobyev to the Investigative Committee with a crime report.
It took investigator Dmitry Pergushev less than two weeks to perform the check. As it turned out, he issued the refusal to initiate criminal proceedings back on 31 December 2019. In his refusal, the investigator quotes the police officers’ testimony which stated that “no one inflicted Vorobyev any bodily injuries at the police department”, and that he got them during the apprehension when he offered a resistance and attempted to flee. In addition, the police officers explained that Vorobyev himself “expressed a wish and asked to stay at the department (overnight – author’s note) and wait for the investigator to interrogate him”.
Since during the check of the police torture complaint the investigator did virtually nothing: failed to question the witnesses, did not request the medical documents, nor assigned expert examination, nor conducted the search of the office premises of the police department – lawyers with the Committee Against Torture appealed against the ruling of investigator Pergushev which refused to initiate criminal proceedings.
On 5 February 2020, Deputy Head of Procedural Control of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Republic of Bashkortostan Rafael Zagitov quashed this refusal of the investigator, having indicated that “the check is incomplete, not all circumstances which have to established, are clarified”. The materials were submitted back to investigator Pergushev for additional check.
Today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received a copy of another refusal to open a criminal case, which, as it happens, was issued by investigator Pergushev back on 13 May, and the copy of the medical forensic examination report.
“In the course of the repeated check based on Vladislav Vorobyev’s complaint of police torture, investigator Pergushev assigned a medical forensic examination, based on results of which the answers to questions on when and how Vorobyev could obtain the bodily injures which were registered on him at the medical station. Unfortunately, the medical expert did not answer a single question posed, referring to the fact that it is not possible, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Denis Iskhakov comments.
– Moreover, the investigator never established or questioned the eye-witnesses of Vladislav Vorobyev’s apprehension, as well as the police officers who were at the police department at the time of Vorobyev’s delivery to that place. But none of this prevented him from issuing a repeated refusal to initiate criminal case”.
According to Iskhakov, after familiarization with the material of the check, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture will appeal against this refusal of the investigator and will insist on assigning a medical forensic expert panel evidence aiming at establishing all the circumstances of the incident, as well as conducing other checking activities, in particular, establishing and questioning of eye-witnesses of Vorobyev’s apprehension and subsequent applying physical force against him.