The Committee Against Torture applied to the ECHR in the interests of the three citizens from Orenburg, complained of police torture


18 February 2022

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the three residents of the Orenburg region, suffered from tortures: Natalya Bulanina, Stanislav Kharitonov and Vladimir Rassokhin. In every case, the attempts to restore justice at the national level have been exhausted.  

Bulanina told human rights defenders that in November 2019 the police officers apprehended her in the street for being drunk and without ID. Tatyana’s 10-year old niece was accompanying her. When the police officer started to take the girl away, Natalya tried to make her stay. Then, Bulanova was seized and beaten up with rubber truncheons, as she recalled. Tatyana submitted a crime report to the Investigative Committee, but the investigators dismissed her claims to open a criminal case five times. At the same time, during one and a half years they failed to even examine the incident scene and did not see the incident’s video record.

According to applicant Stanislav Kharitonov, the police officers tortured him in August 2020. They were called by Stanislav’s neighbors after he had a conflict with them – at that moment Stanislav was drunk. According to him, the arrived police officers apprehended him, and then started to beat him up and choked him till he fainted.  Later on, a criminal case was opened against Kharitonov on applying violence against a police officer – allegedly, he kicked one of them in the stomach, and the officer replied with a “relaxing” hit in the face. Seven times the investigators dismissed the claim to open a criminal case with regard to the police officers.  

According to applicant Vladimir Rassokhin, the police officers used tortures to force him to confess of the rape of an acquaintance of his in September 2019. He recalled that the police officers were hitting his face and stomach and were laughing at him. Subsequently, Vladimir was fined for ten thousand rubles for coercion to actions of sexual nature. The investigators refused to initiate a criminal case on abuse of office by the police officers. The lawyers were trying to appeal against the ruling for two years.      

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture are convinced that in all the cases the police officers violated Article 3 of the Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, prohibiting torture. In case of Rassokhin, his right to freedom and personal integrity which is guaranteed by Article 5 of the Convention, was also violated.      

— Instead of opening criminal cases and conducting full-fledged investigations, the investigators limited themselves to pre-investigative checks. All the applicants had bodily injuries, but the law-enforcement authorities could not convincingly explain how they developed, — emphasized lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Mariya Zadorozhnaya.  — I hope that the ECHR will examine these applications as soon as possible and we will continue to struggle for justice back here, in Russia.

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