Yesterday, on 5 April 2021, the court of the Orenburg region declared the dismissal of a claim to open a criminal case with regard to application of three men accusing the police officers, who, according to them, applied tortures and brutal treatment against them in autumn of 2019 in order to force them to confess of a group rape of a fellow villager, to be legal. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture will appeal against this court ruling.
As we have previously reported, in October 2019, three residents of Nazarovka settlement of the Pervomayskiy District of the Orenburg region applied to the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance: Vladimir Rassokhin, Sergey Vasyukov and Arman Tunykov. They informed that in the night from 24 to 25 September 2019 each of them was taken from their homes by the police officers and delivered to the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Pervomayskiy District, where by tortures and threats they were forced to confess of a group rape of a fellow villager whom they spent the evening with the day before the apprehension.
That is how Rassokhin recalls the events of that night at the police department: “In order not to fall from blows for the face, I was holding on to the chair. After that I immediately received a punch in a solar plexus, due to that I lost breath. I started to outrage why they were beating me up and told them I had to go to work next day, and they started to laugh aloud. The one who hit me said: “Well, well, he’s going to work! There’s nothing for you but the prison camp!”
Later on, medics registered Vladimir with a bruise and an extravasation of the left periocular area.
Sergey Vasyukov also reported the battery: “The police officer started to beat my face with palms of his hands. The blows were hard. I felt giddiness and once I fell on the chairs after the blow. Then the police officer shouted at me, demanded that I stood up and lifted me up, holding my clothes. In total, he was beating me up for about 10 minutes and made about 5-7 blows. All this time he was demanding that I confessed of having committed a crime”.
Medics diagnosed Sergey with a bruise of the face and the anterior abdominal wall.
Arman Tunykov informs that he was not beaten by the police officers, but aimed at him, simulating the intention to perform a blow, expressed threats and insults, did not allow to go to the toilet as well as deprived of water and food.
The investigative authorities charged all the three persons of having committed a crime under item “a”, part 2 of Article 131 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“a group rape by previous concert”).
On the next day, in the course of the court hearing on selecting the measure of restraint, the victim informed that she engaged into sexual contact with them voluntarily and did not have any claims against them. Having listened to the opinions of the parties, the court put the defendants on house arrest.
The investigation, having failed to gather the evidence of a group rape, requalified their actions under part 1 of Article 133 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“forcing to acts of sexual nature”). As a result, the justice court declared all the three persons guilty of this crime and imposed a punishment in the form of a fine.
On 8 October 2019, Vladimir Rassokhin, Sergey Vasyukov and Arman Tunykov applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report with regard to the police officers’ abuse of office.
On 22 November 2019, Deputy Head of the Buzuluksky Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region Berik Umbetov issued a refusal to initiate criminal proceedings.
Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture appealed against the investigator’s ruling, however, the court refused to examine the complaint, having pointed out that the human rights defenders’ letters of attorney are not notarized properly. The Orenburg Regional Court quashed the District Court’s ruling as illegal. As a result, the investigator’s ruling returned back to the same judge.
On 30 December 2020, the Buzuluksky District Court once again stopped the proceedings on the application. This time, it was due to the fact that judgement of conviction was passed with regard to applicants Vladimir Rassokhin, Sergey Vaskyukov and Arman Tunykov.
Human rights defenders did not agree with this conclusion of the court and applied to the superior court instance with an appellate appeal. The Orenburg Regional Court once again quashed the ruling of the court of the first instance and submitted the application for a new examination with a different court composition.
Yesterday, judge of the Buzuluksky District Court of the Orenburg region Natalya Kuznetsova, having examined the application of the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, dismissed it and declared the dismissal by investigator Umbetov to be legal.
“Only a year later we ensured that the court examined our application on its merits. In this application we pointed to numerous drawbacks of the investigation, for example, the fact that during the pre-investigative check, the investigator never even questioned the police officers who were involved in apprehension, did not demand the documentation drawn up on the basis of the fact of the delivery of the apprehended, did not evaluate the applicants’ medial documentation, did not assign a medical forensic expert examination, did not question a witness to violence applied against the apprehended, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments. – Unfortunately, our arguments were not taken into account, that is why we shall appeal against the ruling of judge Kuznetsova at the Orenburg Regional Court”.