The Pervomaysky Court of Krasnodar passed a ruling to collect five thousand roubles from the Ministry of the Interior and the Chief Directorate of the Interior for the Krasnodar Territory for the benefit of pensioner Sergey Zigunov who was illegally detained after he refused to put on a mask.
The incident took place in October 2020, when Zigunov came to the office of an energy company to pay the electricity bills. The company employees asked Sergey to put on a mask, and when he refused, called for police. The arrived police officers told the pensioner to come along with them, because he did not have a passport on him. Sergey refused, since he had a driver’s license on him, that allowed the police officers to identify him. The police officers interpreted this as refusal to disobedience to legal demands. They seized Zigunov by his hands, tripped him up and pushed on the floor. The police officers were holding the pensioner on the floor for about seven minutes, despite his complaints of unwellness and a fit of hypertonia.
After that Zigunov was brought to the department and an ambulance was called for him. At first, Sergey was hospitalized to the district hospital, and on the next day – to the Central District Hospital of the Kurganinsky District.
Eight days later, the police officers drew up a protocol on Zigunov concerning his disobedience to legal demands of the police officer (part 1 of Article 19.3 of the Administrative Offences Code). At the same time, the law-enforcement officers did not formalize his apprehension, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture point out. In November, the Labinsky City Court declared the pensioner guilty and fined him for 500 roubles. In March 2021, the Fourth Court of Cassation quashed this ruling at the initiative of the Prosecutor and cancelled the fine, having explained that the police officers did not have legal grounds for Sergey’s apprehension.
Sergey Zigunov and the lawyers with the CAT asked for a compensation due to illegal delivery to the department. The Pervomaysky Court did not evaluate the police officer’s actions, but evaluated the damage inflicted by illegal criminal prosecution of the pensioner.
Despite the courts’ rulings, the Investigative Committee does not deem the police officers’ actions to be illegal. At the present time, the investigator issued six dismissals of claims to open a criminal case on abuse of office (Article 286 of the Criminal Code), and all these rulings are quashed as illegal ones. The latest of them was quashed on 21 March, after human rights defenders applied to the superiors of the territorial Investigative Committee. At the present time, additional check is underway.
— We asked the court to collect a compensation from the Ministry of the Interior for the illegal delivery to the police, and as a result it was awarded for illegal administrative prosecution of Zigunov, although it was done by the court and not by the Ministry of the Interior. In addition, we don’t agree with the size of the compensation that is why we will appeal against the ruling of the Pervomaysky Court, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Anna Kotsareva comments. — We will also continue to insist on initiating criminal proceedings against police officers for applying force against Zigunov.