The European Court of Human Rights awarded 52 thousand euro to Leonid Mursky from Nizhny Novgorod who suffered from police torture. The ECHR held that the man was subjected to torture by the state agents, at the same time, the Russian authorities did not perform an effective investigation of the incident, thus having violated Article 3 of the Convention on Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, prohibiting tortures.
As we have previously reported, Leonid Mursky applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance on 19 March 2015. He told human rights defenders that two days before he was apprehended near the door of his house and taken to the Department of the Ministry of the Interior for Nizhny Novgorod, where the police officers started to extort from him the confession of sale of drugs. “In the room I sat on a chair, immediately after that I received a blow in the face from a police officer. He added: “Such scum as you should sit on the floor, you haven’t earned the right to sit on a chair yet”, – Leonid recalls.
The police officers were hitting him and threatened to take him to the Grebnoy channel and drown him there.
According to Mursky, he treated the words of the police officers as a direct threat to life and wrote a confession as dictated by them. Leonid applied to the first aid station, where he was registered with bruises and scratches of the forehead as well as suspected non-displaced fracture of odontoid vertebras. Later on, medical forensic experts revealed that the police officers inflicted Leonid with a closed craniocerebral injury.
Subsequently, Mursky was convicted to four and a half years under part 3 of Article 30, item “g” of part 4 of Article 228.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Illegal manufacture and sales of drugs on a large scale).
Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture reported the battery of Mursky to the Investigative Committee and to the Department of the Internal Security of the Ministry of the Interior. The investigators six times dismissed claims to open a criminal case. Human rights defenders attempted to appeal against these dismissals but the courts of higher instances declared them to be legal. In 2017, the lawyers applied to the European Court. In September 2019, the ECHR communicated this application.
Four months before that, the Investigative Committee still initiated a criminal case based on the fact of abuse of office with the use of violence (item “a” Part 3, Article 286) with regard to the applicant of the Committee Against Torture. Three former police officers — Sergey Lebedev, Nikolay Atamashko and Aleksey Khrulev became defendants in the case. In June 2021, Atamashko and Khrulev got two and a half years of penal colony of standard regime, Lebedev — two years of conditional term. The court did not strip the convicts off the special ranks.
“I would like to remind that five years ago the Prosecutor’s Office and the Nizhny Novgorod courts told us all in chorus that all the arguments of the applicant were checked in full scope and no violations of his rights were revealed during the check. That is why we were forced to apply to the ECHR, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin commented. — Now we all have to pay the price for the investigators’ mistakes”.