On September 7, 2010 in the Avtozavodsky district court of Nizhny Novgorod judge Vinnitsky pronounced the verdict in respect of two police officers – Zhuravlyov and Ladin – who had beaten young Nizhny Novgorod citizen Stanislav Lebedev. He applied to the Committee against Torture after he was battered in the Avtozavodsky district Directorate of the Interior in Nizhny Novgorod at night on 8 March 2009. According to Stanislav, he was battered by officers of the second police department of the Avtozavodsky district Directorate of the Interior for no reason. The young man was taken to hospital no.40 only the following day, after he was made to write an acknowledgment of guilt. Before the surgery, hospital doctors documented the following injuries: blunt abdominal trauma, retroperitoneal hematoma, kidney rupture. Doctors had to remove the left kidney completely.
Police officer Zhuravlyov was charged under cl.”a”, p.3, art. 286 of the RF Criminal Code (abuse of office with violent treatment) and officer Ladin – under cl. “ a, c”, p.3, art. 286 of the RF Criminal Code (abuse of office with violent treatment resulting in grave consequences).
Photo: convicts Zhuravlyov (left) and Ladin.
Both policemen were found guilty of all charges. However, though the court acknowledged tortures in respect of M. Lebedev and even mentioned violation of Article 3 of the ECHR, as suggested by the Interregional Committee Against Torture, it awarded a rather lenient punishment – 3 years of imprisonment to captain Zhuravlyov and 5 years to warrant officer Ladin, the sentence was suspended with an arrest of judgment and prohibition of state service.
The Committee Against Torture insists that this verdict is not proportionate to the crime committed by Zhuravlyov and Ladin from the point of view of severity. As a result of their actions a 19-year old youngster has become disabled.
Case law shows that the term of imprisonment imposed by courts for such crimes is more than 5 years, and the sentence is almost never suspended. It is evident that these proceedings are so different from other proceedings just because the accused are police officers. It seems that the court has evaluated the fact of state service as a mitigating circumstance. At the same time state leaders insist on the opposite in their speeches in federal mass media. Top officials of the Russian Federation claim that the status of police officer should aggravate the guilt. But the Avtozavodsky district court has a different opinion.
Victim Lebedev and lawyers of the ICAT are going to appeal against the judgment.