The criminal case on tortures in the Nizhny Novgorod police has been sent back to the District Court once again


22 July 2015

Yesterday, on 21 July 2015, the penal commission of Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court quashed the ruling of the District Court on sending back to the Prosecutor the criminal case in relation to former police officers of Police Department No. 7 for Nizhny Novgorod Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov, charged under Article on «exceeding official powers with use of violence and special equipment». Now the Sovetsky District Court will examine the case on the merits.

(Vadim Volkov and Aleksey Sokolov)

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 of the Sovetsky District of Nizhny Novgorod 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).

(Aleksandr Dmitriyev)

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 with 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 on 4 March of this year filed an appellate complaint against it. The convicts, who spent over a year in the detention center, were released in the court room, and their measure of restraint was changed to the house imprisonment, and the case was sent back for re. On 31 March judge of the Sovetsky District Court Vitaly Bondarenko passed a ruling on sending the case back to the Prosecutor. This ruling was appealed against by the lawyers of the Committee Against Torture, representing the interests of Aleksandr Dmitriyev, and by the appellate petition of the Prosecutor, which were satisfied by the Regional Court yesterday. 

The head of the investigations department of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Nizhny Novgorod branch Dmitry Utukin, who represents the interests of victim Aleksandr Dmitriyev in the appeals instance, informed: «The defendants’ defense team emphasized that the procedure of handing over the criminal case from the head of the investigative authority to the specific investigator was violated, that is why, in its opinion, the case has to be sent back to the Prosecutor. We think that it was nothing more than a technical issue which did not violate the rights of the defendants. We hope that the criminal case will be examined by a different composition of the court, and the criminal proceedings will soon be initiated on the merits of the charges against the former policemen. Unfortunately, Aleksandr Dmitriyev, who recently has received a third degree of disability, will have to go through all these court proceedings which are so challenging for him».

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