Yesterday, on 30 November 2020, the Promyshlenny District Court of Orenburg declared legal the dismissal of a claim to open a criminal case on application of Aleksey Averkiyev from Orenburg who was beaten up by the police officers in 2008. In February of this year, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling with regard to Averkiyev’s complaint, having pointed out that the “authorities should have opened a criminal case and conducted an effective investigation”.
As we have already reported, Aleksey Averkiev from Buzuluk of the Orenburg region applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance in January 2009. In his application to human rights defenders he told that on 26 December 2006 he was apprehended by the police officers in his house on suspicion of committing a crime. Later on, he was taken into custody at Pre-Trial Detention Center No.3 of Orenburg, from where he was periodically transported for investigative actions to the Department on Organized Crime for the Orenburg region.
According to Averkiev, on 19 May 2008, when he was once again taken to the Department for Organized Crime Control, he was beaten up by the police officers, allegedly, for the fact that he was familiarizing with the case materials for too long. Upon his return to the Pre-Trial Detention Facility Aleksey was taken for treatment to the medical unit for three days. Medics diagnosed him with: brain concussion, bruise and extravasation of the left lower leg, bruises in the area of the neck and upper lid of the left eye.
Investigative Department under the Prosecutor’s Office of the Orenburg region was checking the Aleksey’s complaint against illegal violence by police officers. During the check four refusals to initiate criminal proceedings were issued, three of them are declared illegal.
In August 2011, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture were forced to submit an application on behalf of Averkiyev to the European Court of Human Rights.
After the ECHR communicated this application in October 2018, the Investigative Committee’s investigators resumed the check based on Aleksey Averkiyev’s complaint at the national level, however, this check resulted only in a chain of dismissals of claims to open a criminal case.
On 4 February 2020, the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling with regard to Averkiyev’s complaint. The Strasbourg judges acknowledged that, with regard to him, the Russian Federation violated the articles of the European Convention, which ensure the prohibition of torture and brutal treatment, as well as the right to effective investigation. With regard to this, victim Aleksey Averkiyev was awarded a compensation in the amount of 19 400 Euro.
In its ruling, the European Court pointed out that “it is not sufficient to perform the pre-investigative check in accordance with Article 144 of the Criminal and Procedural Code of the Russian Federation in case when the state authorities violate the requirements of the effectiveness of investigation with regard to noteworthy complaints concerning brutal treatment by police officers, in accordance with Article 3 of The Convention. The state authorities were obliged to initiate a criminal case and perform an adequate investigation by performing the whole range of investigative activities”.
On 17 February, investigator of the first department for major cases with the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region Evgeny Valuyev issued another dismissal of a claim to open a criminal case. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture appealed against this dismissal at court, having referred, among other things, to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights.
Yesterday, on 30 November 2020, judge of the Promyshlenny District Court of Orenburg Diana Sudorgina dismissed the application of human rights defenders and declared legal the last “dismissal” of the investigator, having ignored the arguments set out in the European Court’s ruling.
“We will appeal against this court ruling and will insist that the criminal case is opened and effective investigation in the framework of the initiated criminal proceedings is conducted, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin comments on the court ruling. – We would like to remind that the European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly emphasized that the formal conducting of the check with regard to torture complaint cannot be considered an effective investigation”.