Today, on 4 March 2015, the penal commission of Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court from the third attempt examined the appellate complaint of former police officers of Police Department No. 7 Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov, found guilty in January 2014 under Article «exceeding official powers with use of violence and special equipment» and sentenced to 5 years in a standard regime penal colony. Today the court has quashed the ruling of the court of the first instance, having sent the case for new examination, and the two persons involved were released in the courtroom to be confided to their apartments.
We would like to remind you of the circumstances of the case in examination. On 6 March 2011 Aleksandr Dmitriyev was unlawfully apprehended by the police officers in his own apartment and taken to Police Department no. 7 on suspicion of theft, which he, as it was revealed later, did not commit. After his «conversation» with the criminal investigation department officers Dmitriyev signed a confession statement. Vertebral fracture and inpatient admission became other sad results of «enhanced interrogation» of Aleksandr.
According to Dmitriyev, who applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance, the policemen were beating him and used the method of torture known as «envelope» (victim’s hands are twisted behind the back and handcuffed, legs are tied together and with the hands so that the victim is «folded» like an envelope).
On 13 April 2011 criminal proceedings were initiated following Aleksandr’s ill-treatment complaint, but on 6 October 2011 the case was closed on the grounds that no crime had been committed. However, due to the efforts of the Committee Against Torture which called the media attention to this case, on 10 May 2012 the case was reopened and transferred to the first department of the Nizhny Novgorod region Investigative Committee Investigative Department.
As a result on 23 January 2014 the Sovetskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod pronounced the guilty verdict for two former police officers of Police Department No. 7 Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov and convicted them to five years prison term.
Their defense team was not satisfied with the court decision and filed an appellate complaint against it.
However, the court hearing on 13 November of last year dedicated to examination of this complaint came to an abrupt end. The penal commission satisfied the motion of the representative of the regional prosecutor’s office and appointed an agency check of the fact of absence of the reports of the preliminary hearing and the first court hearing of the case which took place in November 2012.
However, today’s court hearing dedicated to examination of this complaint was not destined to take place – due to his lawyer’s extended illness Aleksey Sokolov terminated his contract with him and the court gave the convicted the time to find another lawyer.
At last, today, on the third try the appellate complaint has been examined. The penal commission quashed the decision of the court of the first instance which sentenced Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov to 5 years in a standard regime penal colony. Now the case will be examined in the Sovetskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod with a different composition. The convicted who spent over a year in a pretrial detention facility were released today in the courtroom, their pre-trial restraint was limited to home detention.
Head of investigations department of Nizhny Novgorod office of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Dmitry Utukin, who represented the interests of the victim: «Of course, we are not satisfied with the decision of the regional court. We think that sufficient and necessary evidence of committing the crime was provided in the court of the first instance. In the course of today’s hearing there have not been presented a single piece of new exculpatory evidence or convincing evidence that the court of the first instance committed some grave violations in its verdict, which could not be promptly rectified. Only the substantive provisions of the ruling were announced, we will learn the concrete reasons only after the appellate ruling is received. We intend to continue rendering legal support to Aleksandr Dmitriyev. As a consequence of torture the victim developed a congestive heart failure and his lower limbs vessels almost ceased to function. The Committee Against Torture provides the victim with medical support in the framework of our program of torture victims recovery, but it is obvious that the new trial will become a challenge that he might not live through».