The Court in Chechnya declared illegal the tenth ruling of the investigator dismissing a claim to open a criminal case on tortures of actor Timur Debishev


09 August 2021

On 5 August 2021, the Staropromyslovsky District Court of Grozny declared illegal the tenth dismissal of a claim to open a criminal case with regard to tortures of Debishev. According to the young man, he was tortured with electricity when forced to confess of drug dealing.

In November 2018, Timur Debishev, actor of the Russian State Dramatic Theater named after Lermontov, applied to the Committee Against Torture – he reported that he was tortured at the District Department No.1 for the Leninsky District of Grozny, being forced to confess of drug dealing. According to Timur, he was invited to the department twice: in June and November 2018. First time, they invited him to the department, in order to, allegedly, talk about his relative, however, according to the applicant, instead they were asking him whether he was involved in drug dealing. The second time, the police officers invited him to the police department for identification of some girl based on a photograph. He came to police officers on 12 November accompanied by his mother. However, the police officers did not let his mother inside the department, so she waited for her son outside.

According to Timur, he was taken to the room with several people, and they demanded to provide the information on people who were using drugs in Grozny.After his refusal, they started to beat him up, and, in a few hours, the police officers started to torture him with electricity: “Electricity was applied for about a half an hour. The questions were: “Where are the goods”? but, as I am not involved in drug dealing, I could not answer anything”.

After some time, Debishev was forced to apply a trick and he told the police officers that he had four blister packs of “Lirika” drug, a medicine with a narcotic effect. Debishev was taken home, where a thorough search was conducted, but no prohibited substances were found. When Timur entered the apartment, he managed to inform his relatives about police torture.

After that, according to Debishev, he was returned to the police department and his battery continued: “They jumped on top of me while I was lying on the floor. They were beating me up jointly, and one of the officers was supervising the battery. There were four of them. When the police officers got tired, they started to beat me up with a plastic pipe. Then I was left for the night in the garage at the police department, and released in the morning”.

On 14 November, Timur Debishev applied to the Republican Clinical Hospital, where the following bodily injuries were registered on him: “numerous contusions and hematomas of the hairy part of the head, both ear globes, both shoulder areas, both thighs and lower legs. Later on, he was also examined by the medical expert, who established that Debishev had injuries which may have developed due to impact of electricity.

On 19 January 2019, the investigator issued a ruling refusing to initiate criminal proceedings. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture appealed against this ruling of the investigator as an illegal one. Since that time, ten (!) similar rulings were issued. All of them were quashed by the Prosecutor’s Office and the superiors of the Investigative Committee.

On 5 August 2021, judge with the Staropromyslovsky District Court of Grozny Z.M.Gakayeva satisfied the application submitted by the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture. The ruling of the investigator, dismissing the claim to open a criminal case, was declared illegal and ungrounded.

Rulings dismissing a claim to open a criminal case were repeatedly quashed due to incompleteness of the check and the necessity of conducting additional activities, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Konstantin Gusev explains. – Both Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee superiors pointed this out. However, these drawbacks have not been rectified by the investigator up to this time. The police officers which Debishev described have not been established. Instead, the evidence taken from some acquaintances of his appeared in the case, who claimed that the bodily injures developed during fighting with then. All the three explanations are written in the same pattern. I’m convinced it is done in order to deflect the suspicions away from the police officers. In addition, an “expert examinations battle” is taking place. The investigator has more confidence in the expert examination made in the Chechen Republic 9 months after the incident, but not a conclusion made by a Moscow specialist using a fresh trace. Our conclusion based on our experience of work in Chechnya is that the local investigators very much dislike investigating official crimes of police officers. Timur Debishev’s case is no exception”.

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