14 February 2008 the Supreme Court of Bashkiria found the judgment of the first instance court to return the Blagoveschensk case (against high-standing police officers) to the Prosecutor’s office of Bashkiria legitimate.
You may remember that in December 2004 in Blagoveschensk police officers from the Blagoveschensk City Department of Internal Affairs and special police forces officers of the Bashkirian Republic performed preventive activities as a result of which several hundreds of citizens were unlawfully detained and placed in the so called “filtration point” (former detoxification centre), were subjected to humiliation and battery and charged with an administrative offense. Because of great public involvement the Prosecutor’s office initiated a criminal case. Eight police officers, including the head of the Blagoveschensk City Department of Internal Affairs and captain of the Special Police Forces company, were indicted. Several hundreds of people were acknowledged victims under the case.
On 1 August 2005 the criminal case was submitted to the Blagoveschensk district court, however, in course of 7 months only 17 people out of 341 victims were questioned.
On 14 March 2006 the Blagoveschensk district court decided to return the criminal case to the Prosecutor’s office of Bashkiria in order to simplify the trial by dividing it in two parts, against higher-standing and lower-standing police staff.
The Prosecutor’s office of Bashkiria appealed against the judgment, but the Supreme court of Bashkiria left the verdict in full force. Further the Prosecutor’s office tried to cancel the district court judgment through supervisory instances but failed to do so. Finally, the Prosecutor’s office divided the case into three parts: one case against the key personnel and three cases against junior enlisted.
In September 2007 all criminal cases were submitted to the Blagoveschensk district court. However, in respect of three cases the judges found a lot of investigation faults and sent the cases back to the Prosecutor’s office. The Prosecutor’s office appealed against those decisions and 2 cases returned to the district court.
At present the district court tries three criminal cases against junior enlisted.
Three years passed since the “mopping-up” in Blagoveschensk, but the culprits, high-standing police officers responsible for massive human rights violations, are still not punished.
The Prosecutor’s office of Bashkiria still can not conduct an effective investigation into the events, and the court fails to deliver a legitimate verdict and restore the citizens’ rights.