Today the penal commission of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court has withdrawn from examination of the case of former police officers with Police Department no. 7 Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov who in January of this year were found guilty under Article 286 (3) (a), (b) of Russian Criminal Code (exceeding official powers with use of violence and special equipment) and sentenced to 5 years in general regime (minimum security) penal colony. The court satisfied the motion of the prosecutor who pointed out that the case materials lack the reports of the preliminary hearing and the first court hearing of the case which took place in 2012, having appointed an agency check of this fact.
We would like to remind you of the circumstances of the case in examination. On 6 March 2011 Aleksandr Dmitriyev was unlawfully apprehended by the police officers in his own apartment and taken to Police Department no. 7 on suspicion of theft, which he, as it was revealed later, did not commit. After his «conversation» with the criminal investigation department officers Dmitriyev signed a confession statement. Vertebral fracture and inpatient admission became other sad results of «enhanced interrogation» of Aleksandr.
According to Dmitriyev, who applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance, the policemen were beating him and used the method of torture known as «envelope» (victim’s hands are twisted behind the back and handcuffed, legs are tied together and with the hands so that the victim is «folded» like an envelope).
On 13 April 2011 criminal proceedings were initiated following Aleksandr’s ill-treatment complaint, but on 6 October 2011 the case was closed on the grounds that no crime had been committed. However, due to the efforts of the Committee Against Torture which called the media attention to this case, on 10 May 2012 the case was reopened and transferred to the first department of the Nizhny Novgorod region Investigative Committee Investigative Department.
As a result on 23 January 2014 the Sovetskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod pronounced the guilty verdict for two former police officers with Police Department no. 7 Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov and convicted them to five years prison term.
Their defense team was not satisfied with the court decision and filed an appellate complaint against it. Today’s court hearing dedicated to examination of this complaint came to an abrupt end. The penal commission satisfied the motion of the representative of the regional prosecutor’s office and appointed an agency check of the fact of absence of the reports of the preliminary hearing and the first court hearing of the case which took place in 2012.
The head of the investigations department of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Nizhny Novgorod branch Dmitry Utukin, who represents the interests of the victim, pointed out the following in relation to today’s hearing: «The prosecutor’s office reacted promptly, having filed the appropriate motion, otherwise this technical mistake could have become a «tickling bomb», casting discredit on the legitimacy of the verdict. Now the court should perform a check and find out why these major faults were not rectified during the 10 months of preparation for the appellate examination. After that the appellate complaints of the lawyers of the convicted and the prosecutor’s petition are going to be examined».