The court finds the compensation claimed by the mother of a person killed at a sobering-up station 6 times overstated


28 March 2012

On March 2 the Oktyabrsky city court of Orsk (Orenburg region) sustained the suit of Orsk resident Olga Litkevich lodged against the Finance Ministry only in part – the award for moral damage inflicted to the claimant by her son’s death at the Orsk sobering-up station in 2004 amounted to 150 000 rubles. It must be noted that the claimed amount was 935 280 rubles. The judgment has not yet entered into force and the Committee Against Torture intends to appeal against it, as it finds the award disproportionate to the degree of sufferings sustained by the mother in connection with her son’s death.

You may remember that Olga applied to the Committee Against Torture in connection with her son’s death at the Orsk sobering-up station in September 2004. She told the CAT staff that on 6 September 2004 Sergey had been detained by the traffic police and taken to a sobering-up station. At night a doctor was summoned who examined Mr. Litkevich and concluded that he had no injuries, this fact was documented in the traffic police report. In the morning on September 7 Sergey would not wake up, he was taken to hospital in an ambulance where he died on September 8 without regaining consciousness. According to forensic medical experts, the cause of death was as follows: “grave brain contusion with destruction of the left frontal lobe, subdural brain hemorrhage”.

Criminal proceedings upon the fact of death were instigated only several months after the incident, and investigative authorities have been stonewalling the investigation ever since.  Persons who inflicted the fatal injury are not yet identified.  Due to the ineffectiveness of the domestic investigation, in March 2009 the Committee Against Torture had to apply to the European Court of Human Rights.

Human rights defenders twice exposed forgery committed by investigators and tried to hold them criminally responsible, in September 2011 the Oktyabrsky district court of Orsk found the last 5 years of the investigation defective, since the investigation period had been many times extended by unauthorized personnel.   Two Investigative Administration employees were fired.

Although it’s been more than 7 years since the young man died, and solution of the crime seems less and less probable due to investigation sabotage, the CAT intends to pursue justice – those in charge of Sergey Litkevich’s murder, as well as negligent investigators, must be punished.

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