The court sentenced the resident of Nizhny Novgorod who was beaten up in a police van to one year and ten months of prison term in a maximum security penal colony


30 September 2021

Today, on 30 September, the Nizhny Novgorod District Court sentenced our applicant Roman Gusev to one year and nine months of prison term in a maximum security penal colony for applying violence against a power authority representative. Аfter a conflict with the police officer, Gusev was registered with numerous fractures of the face and ribs, missing teeth and eye-sight deterioration. The Investigative Committee dismissed Gusev’s claim to open a criminal case against a police officer twice.

As we have previously reported, on 15 June 2021, Roman Gusev from Nizhny Novgorod applied to the Committee Against Torture. He told human rights defenders that, on 19 April, during apprehension for an attempt to steal a bottle of whisky, he was beaten up by police officer Aleksandr Merkulov. According to Gusev, the police officer was beating him up inside a service vehicle till he passed out. The incident was captured by the outdoor video surveillance camera.

Roman was diagnosed with numerous traumas: “a displaced fracture of supramaxillary bone on the left and on the right. Open craniocerebral wound, minor brain contusion. Fracture of cribriform and sphenoid bones. Contusion of soft tissues in the area of the right half of the rib cage”, “numerous fractures of the facial skeleton, front wall of the frontal sinus, brain concussion. Minor mediastinal emphysema, emphysema of the soft tissues of the face, neck, rib cage, contusion of the orbit’s soft tissues. Fractures of the fourth rib anterior segment, sixth rib cartilaginous segment, anterolateral segment of the seventh rib on the left, numerous scratches and hematomas of the soft tissues of the face”,”minor hypermetropia of both eyes”, “loss of 11th, 12th and 13th teeth due to jaw trauma”.

Police officer Merkulov claims that Gusev hit him in the jaw which resulted in his “hemorrhage in the mucous membrane of the upper lip, extravasation of the face”. Merkulov developed a report on the basis of which a criminal case was opened under Article 318 of the Criminal Code (applying violence against an authority representative).

In the materials of the criminal case there is a video from the surveillance cameras, where his conflict with the police officers is partially covered: the video features Gusev being pulled by the leg, and Roman is waving off with his hand, after that, police officer Merkulov closes the door and the police van starts shaking. Later on, the police officers come out of it together with Gusev, who is spitting blood. The court removed the video from the evidence.

“It is not known for certain what was going on in the van. We could have known it for certain, had the video recorders, worn on the chest, not de-energized, and the cameras in the police van had been operable. But, in the very moment, after which Gusev obtained numerous traumas, the equipment of the Ministry of the Interior failed, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Kristina Diogidze comments. — We continue the public investigation, establishing the circumstances of the incident”.

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