The ECHR awarded 26,000 euro to the citizen from Orenburg who was beaten up by law-enforcement officers 15 years ago


27 July 2021

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Today, on 27 July 2021, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling stating that Article 3 of the European Convention, prohibiting tortures, was violated with regard to applicant Sergey Eroshenko. In its ruling, the court pointed out that the RF authorities failed to perform an effective investigation with regard to tortures, and declared the law-enforcement officers’ actions towards Eroshenko to be inhumane and degrading. With regard to this, he was awarded a compensation for moral damage in the amount of 26 000 euro.

Sergey Eroshenko’s application is one of the first ones that the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture started its activity with in April 2007. The applicant reported that in the night from 23 to 24 November 2006 in the course of apprehension he was brutally beaten up by the officers of the Directorate for Combating Organized Crime of the Department of the Interior of the Orenburg region. 

According to Eroshenko, the battery continued in the District Department of Interior of Akbulak, where he was taken after the apprehension. As the applicant pointed out in his written application to human rights defenders, the police officers who abused him were drunk and apart from the battery itself attempted to stick a rubber truncheon with a condom put on in his rectum, but failed to tear up his clothes. In the course of the torture the police officers demanded that he confessed that the sawed-off gun from which someone shot some time ago, belonged to him.

According to Sergey, only in the morning, when the District Department of Interior duty officers started to enter their duties, he was taken to the temporary detention cell.

I started to vomit there, I had a splitting headache, I asked to call the doctors but no one would listen to me, – Eroshenko described what was happening on that morning.

After some time, he was taken to the investigator. A defense lawyer was in his room, too. Eroshenko informed that he was beaten up by the police officer and that he needed a doctor. After some time, Sergey was taken to hospital where the doctors took a decision to put him in surgery department. According to the certificate of forensic medical examination, Eroshenko had the following bodily injuries: closed craniocerebral trauma, brain concussion, bruises on his face, chest contusion on the right side, scratches of both forearms.

On 28 November a court hearing took place right in the hospital ward, which defined a restraint for him in the form of taking into custody upon suspicion of committing the crime under Part 2 Article 163 of the Russian Criminal Code (“extortion”). Eroshenko reported how the police officers were beating him up, but the court did not react to it.

For several months after that, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture were trying to ensure that the criminal case with regard to the facts of torture is opened at the national level. The Prosecutor’s Office did not believe the statements of Sergey Eroshenko on the police battery and dismissed the claim to open a criminal case. Following that, the courts of the Orenburg region deemed Sergey’s version inconsistent and declared the dismissal of the Prosecutor’s Office to be legal and well-grounded.

Having exhausted the domestic legal remedies, in July 2008, the human rights defenders submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Sergey Eroshenko. 

Today, the ECHR satisfied the human rights defenders’ application, having acknowledged that Sergey Eroshenko was subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment, and awarded him a compensation in the amount of 26 000 euro. “We are, certainly, satisfied with this ruling, since the international authority, in essence, acknowledged that the state representatives subjected the applicant to illegal and brutal treatment, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin comments. – We have to admit that at the domestic level it is impossible to bring anyone to justice for violation of Sergey Eroshenko’s rights, because the period of limitation for bringing to criminal responsibility for abuse of office is expired. However, we intend to insist that an official investigation is conducted and the guilty of committing a crime against Eroshenko are identified. In addition, we are convinced that in combination with other rulings, this decree of the European Court will help us to influence the current situation related to state authorities’ performance with regard to torture complaints”.

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