The ECHR communicated the complaint from a citizen from Nizhny Novgorod about police battery in 2009

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05 June 2018

The European Court of Human Rights posed questions to the Russian Federation concerning the complaint of Aleksandr Rakhmanov from Kstovo (the Nizhny Novgorod region) about the police battery in 2009 and inefficient investigation of this incident. Now the Russian authorities will be obliged to provide their comments on this case to the European Court of Human Rights. Unfortunately, Aleksandr Rakhmanov will not see the resolution of his complaint, as he deceased in 2016.

(Aleksandr Rakhmanov)

As we have already reported, on 22 June 2009 Irina Rakhamova applied for legal support to the Nizhny Novgorod office of the Committee Against Torture. She told that early in the morning on 14 May 2009 police officers came to her apartment. They showed her some incomprehensible document that she failed to read without glasses. At the moment when she opened the door and asked to see the document more clearly, the police officers forced inside her home. They told her they were going to conduct a search.
 
According to the applicant, the police officers started to push her. At this time her husband Aleksandr Rakhmanov, a disabled person of group 2, came in the corridor and tried to learn what was going on. In reply one of the masked persons hit him in the face, after that Rakhmanov fell. Other masked people came near him and started to hit him with shoes at his chest and belly.

After that he was handcuffed and one of the police officers raised Rakhmanov via his handcuffs under the floor. Irina heard him crying: «It hurts, take off the handcuffs, what have I done to you, I’m an old and sick man». Only after that he was left alone.

Upon the completion of search Rakhmanova together with her husband went to a forensic expert. From 14 May 2009 to 5 June 2009 Aleksandr Rakhmanov was undergoing treatment at Kstovsky Central District Hospital. He was diagnosed with: first degree brain contusion, diffuse contusions of face, chest, anterior abdominal wall, upper limbs, bruises of the face.

The police officers, in their turn, have a different version. They claimed that on that day under instructions of the investigator they conducted a search in Rakhmanov’s apartment in relation to a fraud case. According to their version, at first Irina did not want to let them inside, and then the couple put up a fight (the police officers claimed that Rakhmanova even bite one of them), as a result the law-enforcement agencies were compelled to use force.
 
A criminal case against Rakhamova was initiated based on violence against the police officer. She claimed she could not possibly bite anyone because her teeth were pin supported. But quite soon, on 13 August 2009, Kstovsky City Court brought in the verdict of guilty, and she was sentenced to pay a fine of one hundred and fifty thousand rubles. Thus, in three months’ time exactly the case of the bite of the police officer was brought to verdict.

What about the investigation of the circumstances of how the Rakhmanovs acquired their bodily injuries?

At first, in violation of the requirements on independence of torture complaints investigation, established by the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, the Rakhmanovs’ complaint on the battery was being checked in the framework of the criminal case against Rakhmanova. On 24 June 2009 senior investigator of the Kstovo City Department of the Investigative Committee Dmitry Balin passed a ruling refusing to initiate a criminal case based on the conjoints’ complaint.

On behalf of the Chairman of the Committee Against Torture a crime report was submitted, which was examined in the framework of the separate investigation material. On 1 July 2009 previously mentioned senior investigator Balin, referring to his ruling of 24 June 2009, also refused to initiate a criminal case.
 
Totally in the course of pre-trial investigations three refusals to initiate criminal proceedings were issued, which were appealed against by the lawyers of the Committee Against Torture. Two of them were declared illegal by the Prosecutor’s Office and denounced. The last, third, ruling was declared legal.

In 2009 human rights defenders filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, and in 2015 at a domestic level – a suit on compensation of moral damage, incurred by inefficient investigation of a complaint about police battery.
 
On 9 July 2015 judge of the Nizhny Novgorod District Court Irina Shkinina satisfied this appeal, having collected ten thousand rubles from the state.
 
The judge agreed to the human rights defenders’ arguments who claimed that the actions of the authorities (investigative officers and Prosecutor’s Office), responsible for the fact that the preliminary check of Rakhmanov’s battery in 2009 lingered for four years, were illegal. Unfortunately, Irina Rakhmanova did not live to see this court ruling, as she died only two months prior to that.

Yesterday the European Court of Human Rights’ website informed that the complaint submitted on behalf of Aleksandr Rakhmanov, was communicated. Unfortunately, he also died, in 2016, and will not learn about the ruling on his complaint.

The Strasbourg judges posed to the Russian Federation some questions concerning whether Mr Rakhimov was subjected to torture, degrading or humiliating treatment, whether the Russian authorities succeeded in providing a convincing explanation of how he obtained his bodily injuries, as well as whether the investigation of this incident was efficient.
 
“We think that in this case the state did not react to the human rights violation at all: the criminal case based on the fact of the battery has never been opened, the culprits were not brought to responsibility, and the compensation for moral damage with regard to inefficient investigation amounted to only ten thousand rubles, whereas the European Court considers the sum starting from ten thousand euro to be adequate in similar cases, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments. – Despite the death of Aleksandr Rakhmanov, the examination of the complaint will be continued, now in the interests of his son”.