The criminal case on inciting the convict to suicide is dismissed for the third time


12 January 2021

In Orenburg, the criminal case based on the fact of incitement to suicide of convict Aleksandr Belousov at Penal Colony No.4 is dismissed for the third time. Belousov complained that the colony officers abused him: hit him, did not provide medical assistance, dipped his head into the toilet pit. Despite serious amount of evidence indicating the incitement to suicide, the criminal case is dismissed due to absence of the criminal event.

As we have previously reported, on 5 August 2019, а man called to the Committee Against Torture and presented himself as Aleksandr Belousov. He told human rights defenders that he was serving sentence at Penal Colony No.4 of the Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for the Orenburg region. Aleksandr reported that he and other convicts are regularly subjected to abuse and battery by the penal institution officers. According to Aleksandr, the convicts’ abuse and abasement of human dignity by the way of dipping their heads in the toilet pit is in common practice at the penal colony.

According to Aleksandr, he was inflicted serious sufferings due to the fact that the penal colony officers refused to provide him with appropriate medical assistance for asthma treatment.

Due to all these reasons, as Aleksandr indicated, he committed suicide attempts — cut his hands. The person who called asked human rights defenders to hand the data he reported over to the Prosecutor’s Office, as well as distribute the information on what is going on in the social media or hand it over to mass media.

“I decided to commit suicide because I don’t have any more patience to endure all this lawlessness. They have this thing which they call “stretching”, it is when they hit your head against the wall and kick your feet – it’s supposed to be stretching. It was a common practice to apply it for failure to comply with anything. Another thing when the convicts were bent, brought to the toilet bowl and their heads were dipped into it. So they do all this in such a way that there is little beating as such. I submitted several complaints, as I understand they absolutely don’t go anywhere from here. I have nothing to fear anymore. My head was dipped into the toilet pit, I was beaten up”, — Aleksandr Belousov told over the phone.

On the next day, lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin handed over the data submitted by Belousov to the Prosecutor’s Office providing supervision of legal compliance at penal institutions.

On 12 August 2019, some man called human rights defenders office, this time some unknown man called who reported that Aleksandr Belousov hanged himself. On the same day, the parents of the deceased, Tatyana Belousov and Sergey Belousov applied to the Committee Against Torture. In their statement they asked to conduct a public investigation and render legal assistance based on the fact of their son’s death. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report as well as submitted a number of motions to perform checking activities.

On 3 September 2019, Senior Investigator of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Department for the Northern Administrative District of Orenburg of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Orenburg region Lyubov Dyekina opened a criminal case with regard to the crime committed against Aleksandr Belousov, provided by part 1 of Article 110 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“incitement to suicide”).

On 31 October 2019, investigator of the same department Vladimir Yartsev dismissed the criminal case due to the absence of the event of crime. However, this ruling was quashed by the superiors as illegal.

After the investigation of the criminal case was resumed, it was extended several times.

Only on 30 April 2020, eight months after the investigation started, investigator Vladimir Yartsev decided to question lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin, with whom Aleksandr Belousov talked a few days before his death. Upon the human rights defender’s request, the audio record of that conversation was attached to the materials of the criminal case, where the deceased informs about his intention to commit suicide due to systematic abuse by the Federal Penitentiary Service officers.

On 7 May 2020, investigator Yartsev dismissed the investigation of this criminal case for the second time.

“Actions that led to A.S.Belousov suicide, were attempted by the latter on his own in order to ensure softening his terms of serving punishment, without the involvement of third persons, i.e. are not criminal”, – investigator Yartsev pointed out in his ruling.

In addition, according to investigator, the deceased convict did not convey to lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin “any complaints about anyone systematically abusing him or inciting to suicide”, although during the interrogation Rakhmatulin claimed exactly the opposite.

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture appealed to court against the investigator’s ruling dismissing the case.

On 24 September 2020, judge of the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Orenburg Elena Verkashinskaya declared illegal the dismissal of this criminal case and obliged the Investigative Committee to correct the committed violation. The criminal case was returned to the Investigative Department for the investigation to be resumed.

On 30 December 2020, investigator with the Investigative Department for the Northern Administrative District of Orenburg with the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region Marat Kinzhigaliyev for the third time dismissed the criminal case due to absence of the criminal event.

Today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received a copy of this ruling.

“We think that from the very start the Investigative Committee investigators have only created an image of active work, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin comments another ruling on dismissal of the criminal case. – For example, despite a large, as it would seem, amount of the activities performed by the investigators, the work on the criminal case cannot be called effective. Many of the convicts, whose safety was not ensured, are changing their evidence. In addition, despite reports from numerous convicts on systematic battery and abuse by the penal colony officers and the Federal Penitentiary Service special forces during regular searches, the investigators are ignoring this information. In the nearest future we intend to familiarize ourselves with the materials of the criminal case and appeal against its dismissal at court”.

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