The Krasnodar Regional Prosecutor’s Office has referred to court the criminal case against a group of officers of special police forces (OMON) of Sochi City charged with power abuse with coercion in respect of a large group of peaceful citizens, including minors, who had been violently beaten by the police officers in July 2006 during the “mopping-up” operations in the youth recreation camp “Druzhba” situated in settlement Makops.
In the photo: victim E. Adamyan
The accusation is brought against 8 police officers, 7 of which are taken into custody.
In July the Interregional Organization Mothers for the Protection of Rights of Suspects, Prisoners and Convicts (Krasnodar) requested the NN Committee Against Torture to help it in investigation into the events which had taken place in Lazarevsky District of the City of Sochi, where the camp “Druzhba” was situated.
The human rights defenders have conducted a public investigation into the events. For this purpose a combined mobile group, composed of representatives from the Interregional Organization Mothers for the Protection of Rights of Suspects, Prisoners and Convicts (Krasnodar), the Committee Against Torture (Nizhny Novgorod), the Public Verdict Foundation (Moscow) and the Yoshkar-Ola City Organization “Man and Law”, arrived in Sochi. The group was engaged in establishing facts legally relevant to the case.
In the photo: head of NN CAT, a member of the mobile group of human rights defenders, I. Kalyapin and lawyer N. Shakhovalov
We need to mention that the human rights defenders worked in close and fruitful cooperation with officials from the investigating team of Krasnodar Regional Prosecutor’s Office, what allowed us to interview the witnesses, collect evidence, conduct all the investigative activities and identify suspects in a very short time.
On 6 August 2006 the combined mobile group of Russian human rights organizations finished its work in settlement Makops of Lazarevsky District of the City of Sochi of Krasnodar Region. Within 10 days’ time of their work the lawyers of the group established 23 victims of unlawful actions committed by the OMON personnel during the night from 18 to 19 July 2006. The prosecutor’s office of Lazarevsky District received and subjoined to the materials of the criminal case 129 pages of documents (detailed explanations of the victims, medical records, applications).
In the photo: a member of the mobile group, lawyer of the Yoshkar-Ola Non-Governmental Organization “Man and Law” D. Egorshin is interviewing a witness.
The regional prosecutor’s office in this case showed great competence. The investigation was carried out fast, effectively and with observance of all rules of procedure. Top officials of the prosecutor’s office were highly constructive in their work and all the members of the mobile group noted that.
Unfortunately, the investigation of such notorious police abuses by Russian prosecution officials is often far from being so effective – we still remember sad examples of Blagoveschensk, Tver, Bezhetsk, village Ivanovskaya in Stavropol Region, where prosecution officials in fact sabotaged the investigations.
The more pleasing looks the work of the Krasnodar Regional Prosecutor’s Office, which from the very beginning was doing its utmost to conduct the investigation fast and effectively despite the objective hardships which emerged. For example, the OMON personnel who had committed the offences had worn disguise masks, and it made certain identification difficulties for the investigation. Another example is that many of the witnesses when their holidays had been over left the seaside resort for different parts of the country. Nevertheless, the prosecutor’s office working in close and constructive cooperation with the combined mobile group of human rights defenders overcame all those obstacles.
OPENNESS FOR COOPERATION WITH HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS, PURPOSEFULNESS OR, BETTER TO SAY, OBSERVANCE OF RUSSIAN LAWS – this is the positive example, given by Krasnodar prosecution officials to the Russian prosecution system, which as we hope will stimulate positive changes in the prosecution system of Russia when it deals with investigation of similar public offences like that in Sochi.
The NN Committee Against Torture on behalf of the combined mobile group wishes to express its gratitude and acknowledgement to the top officials of the investigative team of the Krasnodar Regional Prosecutor’s Office, with which the human rights defenders cooperated in Sochi with honor and pleasure.
We are sure that owing to their high skillfulness, civil responsibility and respect for the Law, which the prosecution officials in Krasnodar showed when they were effectively investigating the offence, similar cases will never recur in the region.
We underline that the Russian Federation presented by the Krasnodar Regional Prosecutor’s Office demonstrated its readiness to observe the provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
In the photo: a district police officer is interviewing the witnesses.
Despite the fact that mass beatings of citizens, committed by law enforcement officers, had been an evident violation of human rights, the actions of the state through its prosecution agencies which effectively investigated the matter, have indeed proved that Russia complies with its obligations under the European Convention.