The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will examine the case of tortures at the Nizhny Novgorod Anti-Extremism Centre in 2010


21 January 2019

The officers of the Nizhny Novgorod Anti-Extremism Centre who, according to Nikita Danishkin, tortured him in 2010, may escape from responsibility due to inefficient execution of the European Court by the Russian authorities (in 2017 the court established the fact of Danishkin’s torture). More than one and a half years after the ruling of the European Court the criminal case on these events has never been opened. With regard to this, the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied today to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

As we have previously reported, on 1 February 2011, Nikita Danishkin applied to Nizhny Novgorod office of interregional nongovernmental organization «The Committee Against Torture» for legal assistance. In his application Nikita claimed that on 25 December 2010, he was detained in his rented flat by officers of the Anti-Extremism Centre (AEC) who took him to AEC headquarters. There these officers beat and tortured his him (they made Nikita sit with crossed legs, tied his legs up with the towing-cable and flung him on the floor) in order to make him confess of preparation of a terrorist attack and dissemination of information smearing the honor and dignity of AEC staff. Nikita emphasized that the head of AEC took part in his tortures.

According to Mr Danishkin, the police officers failed to obtain the confession from him and they brought him to the Temporary Isolation Cell, however, when the duty officer there saw Nikita’s numerous injuries he sent him to hospital No.40 for an examination. As a result, Mr Danishkin was diagnosed with bruises, including on his face.

On December 27, 2010 Danishkin was admitted to remand prison, where he had the following injuries documented: a red-brown bruise on the right side of the abdominal area, a yellowish-green bruise in the axillary region on the left, multiple purple bruises on the face and neck.

Danishkin complained about ill-treatment to the head of the Investigative Committee. However, no criminal case was initiated, and the pre-investigation check, in the course of which investigator Novikov five times illegally passed refusals to initiate criminal proceedings and which lasted for over one year and a half, ended in the Nizhny Novgorod regional court on 5 August 2013 where the sixth refusal was declared legal in the end.

On 15 June 2011 the Avtozavodsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod declared Nikita Danishkin to be guilty of committing the crime under part 1 of Article 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“illegal storage, transportation of explosives and explosive devices”) and sentenced him to three years prison term in a standard regime penal colony.

Having exhausted all domestic remedy, on 5 February 2014 lawyers with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. On 7 April 2015 it was communicated. After communication the pre-investigation check based on Danishkin’s complaint was resumed and the material was handed over to investigator of the first department for major cases investigation of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region Aleksandr Busarov. However, the criminal case was never opened.

On 2 May 2017, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling with regard to the complaint submitted in the interests of Danishkin. The Strasbourg judges unanimously established the following:

– Article 3 of the Convention was violated in its material part (the applicant was subjected to torture);

– Article 3 of the Convention was violated due to absence of efficient investigation of the applicant’s claims about having been tortured by the police officers.

Due to that Nikita Danishkin was awarded twenty thousand euro as a compensation for moral damage.

On 21 November 2018, the Presidium of the Supreme Arbitration Court of the Russian Federation passed a ruling to resume the proceedings based on Nikita Danishkin’s complaint against torture. Thus, the investigators were obliged to resume the work and perform an effective investigation based on Danishkin’s complaint. However, the check on this case continues to be performed only formally, and the investigator keeps issuing regular “refusal” rulings which are subsequently declared illegal.

At the present moment, nine illegal rulings to initiate criminal proceedings are issued, another additional check is ongoing.

With regard to the fact that the period of limitation for bringing to criminal responsibility expires on 26 December 2020, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture have submitted today an application to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe with a request to pose questions to representatives of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Russia, related to execution of the ruling of the European Court with regard to complaint of Nikita Danishkin. The representatives of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs will have to explain what the Russian Federation already has done and what it intends to do in order to fully restore the violated rights of Mr Danishkin, and the ruling of the ECHR, passed in 2017, is executed in full scope.

“The Russian authorities have little time left in order to conduct investigation on Danishkin’ case and send it to court, – lawyer with the department of international legal remedy with the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments.

– It is notable that even the ruling of the Supreme Court with direct instruction to conduct a full-fledged check on Nikita Danishkin’s complaint did not make the investigator perform a full-scale investigation. As if mocking the whole system of justice, he issued another refusal to initiate criminal proceedings, absolutely identical to the previous one. Meanwhile, only two years remain before the expiry of the period of limitations, that is why we hope that our application to the Committee of the Ministers of the Council of Europe will help to open a criminal case and in the end to bring the culprits to responsibility”.

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