Orenburg regional court agreed with the ruling of the court of first instance and did not increase the amount of the compensation for moral damage inflicted to Aleksey Sukhov by the criminal actions of former police officers Konstantin Sinyagin and Aleksey Reshetilov. Human rights defenders from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture representing the interests of Mr Sukhov are going to appeal against this ruling of the court at the cassation instance as this amount neither corresponds to the level of the inflicted damage not agrees with the practice of the European Court of Human Rights.
(Photo: lawyer of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Albina Mudarisova and Aleksey Sukhov)
The background of this case is as follows. On 11 April 2012 Aleksey Sukhov from the Orenburg region applied to the Orenburg branch of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» for legal assistance. He told the human rights defenders that on 29 August 2011 he returned home to Prigorodny settlement after driving school training. Not far from home he was stopped by two police officers who decided to search Aleksey. According to Sukhov, during the search he saw that the police officers were trying to plaint some marijuana on him – Aleksey started to express his indignation with the unlawful actions of the law-enforcement officers, trying to attract the attention of the passers-by. However, shouting did not help and the police officers severely beat the man up, after that they took him to the local cemetery, promising that they would «bury him right there».
After these threats Sukhov was taken to the police department and a criminal case was initiated against him under part 1 of Article 228 of the Russian Criminal Code (illegal purchase and storage of a large quantity of drug substance without the intention to sell). However, later on this criminal case was dismissed for absence of a criminal act.
As a result of «communication» with the police officers Aleksey Sukhov got bodily injuries in the form of closed craniocerebral injury, cerebral concussion, haematoma of soft tissues, a bruise in the eye area, subconjunctival hemorrhage of the left eye, scratch marks on the body.
It was decided to turn for legal support to the human rights defenders who got involved in the case in the capacity of Sukhov’s representatives. Later on, in February 2013, lawyers of the Committee Against Torture established in court that no check on Sukhov’s statement was performed since September 2012 at all. The court compelled the head of the investigative department for the Southern administrative district of Orenburg of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Orenburg region Yevgeny Karyakin to rectify the breach. However, he had not enforce court decision until the new application of human rights defenders to court in September 2013 when it was established that the previous court decision had not been enforced by the investigative authority for more than 7 months.
Thus, after a long period of lodging a complaint against the inaction of the investigative authority officers, Yevgeny Karyakin was relieved from his post, and in May 2014, at last, the criminal case based on Sukhov’s complaint, was initiated. Investigation of the case was assigned to investigator of the first department for major cases investigation of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Orenburg region Denis Khusainov. Only one and a half months after the criminal case was opened Mr.Khusainov declared Mr.Sukhov the affected party, despite the requirements of the Russian Criminal Code to formalize the status of the affected party immediately after the case opening. One of the first investigative actions conducted by Khusainov was questioning the victim’s representative – lawyer of the Committee Against Torture, and the questioning of the victim himself filled only four lines of text.
Only after the case was referred to investigator Dmitry Zelenin the situation changed: he conducted all necessary investigative activities, after which prosecutor of Leninsky region of Orenburg Aleksandr Fadeyev upheld the indictment with regards to two former police officers, and the case was submitted to court.
On 28 October 2015 judge of the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg Aleksey Konnov passed a guilty verdict with regard to two former officers of extradepartmental security service Aleksey Reshetilov and Konstantin Sinyagin. They were declared guilty of committing the crime under item “a” part 3 Article 286 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code (“abuse of office with the use of violence”) and sentenced to three and a half years of prison term to be served at the penal colony of standard regime.
The convicted persons did not agree with the verdict of the court and submitted appeal petitions, but on 26 February this year the judicial panel of the Orenburg Regional Court upheld the verdict of the court of the first instance.
After the verdict has come into its legal force lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Albina Mudarisova, representing the interests of Aleksey Sukhov, submitted a lawsuit for compensation of moral damage inflicted to Aleksey Sukhov by illegal actions of the former police officers.
On 11 July 2016 judge of the Leninskiy District Court of Orenburg Anna Vaulina partially upheld the claims under the lawsuit and awarded to Aleksey Sukhov a compensation in the amount of one hundred and thirty thousand roubles instead of the claimed sum of two million roubles.
Aleksey Sukhov and his representative were not satisfied with the amount of the compensation and filed a claim to the Orenburg regional court. One of the convicted policemen, Konstantin Sinyagin also submitted an appeal.
In the end, on 29 November this year the judicial board of the Orenburg regional court refused to satisfy both complaints, leaving the amount of the awarded compensation without changes.
“We do not agree with the verdict of the regional court, because we believe that the awarded amount does not correspond to the moral damage that Aleksey Sukhov suffered. Moreover, the regional court did not take into account the practice of the European Court of Human Rights which supports the idea that the state shall not be held liable for the violating of fundamental rights and freedoms only when the victim received adequate compensation. And the compensation awarded by the national courts shall not be significantly lower than the one awarded by the European Court in similar cases, – says Albina Mudarisova. – As the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation several times drew the attention of the courts to the fact the practice of the European Court shall be taken into account by courts of all instances, we assume that this is the case of serious violation of the legal rule and so we are planning to appeal against this verdict of the regional court at the cassation instance.”