Today, on 1 September 2020, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling in the interests of Denis Kramchaninov from Nizhny Novgorod region, who was subjected to torture at the police department in 2010. The European Court acknowledged that the resident of Nizhny Novgorod was subjected to torture by the state representative and that no effective investigation was conducted with this regard. Due to this, the applicant was awarded a compensation of 34400 Euro. Previously, the ex-police officer was sentenced to a conditional term for tortures, and the victim received a compensation amounting to three hundred and fifty thousand rubles.
As we have previously reported, Denis Kramchaninov applied to the Committee Against Torture in July 2010. He told the human rights defenders that he was severely beaten by a local police officer who was forcing the young man to sign a false self-accusation of committing a theft.
As Kramchaninov reported in his explanation, in the evening of 15 July 2010 he was brought from his home to the Shakhunsky Police Department. Inside the office premises the police officer demanded that the guy confessed of theft, after that he hit him several times with his fists against the head, pressed his fingers with pliers, and, having put the gas mask on the young man, made him do knee bends. The battery and torture lasted about two hours, after that Denis yielded and agreed to sign a full confession, which was dictated to him by the police officer. When in the evening of the same day the young man applied to the Shakhunskaya District hospital doctors diagnosed him with a cerebral concussion and registered some hematomas on his body.
Due to the fact that Kramchaninov signed a confession, a pre-investigative check was initiated, however, as early as on 15 August 2010, the investigator dismissed the criminal case having failed to detect any element of crime in the Denis’ actions.
For almost seven years human rights defenders were insisting on opening the criminal case based on Denis torture report: during this time ten refusals to initiate criminal proceedings were issued, subsequently they were declared illegal and quashed. In August 2016, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the European Court of Human Rights with a complaint in the interests of Denis Kramchaninov.
On 29 May 2017, the criminal case was opened with regard to former investigative officer of the Department of the Interior for the Shakhunsky District Andrey Tumanov, who is accused of committing a crime under item “a” part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“abuse of office with the use of violence”).
The preliminary investigation of the criminal case took about two months and after the assertion of the indictment by the Prosecutor it was sent to court for evaluation on its merits.
On 15 December 2017, in the course of the court hearing, State Prosecutor Sergey Lounin requested that the defendant was sentenced to six years prison term with serving the sentence in the standard regime penal colony. The victim said that he would be satisfied by any judgement of conviction. In the course of the court hearings, the defendant did not acknowledge his guilt, refused to provide evidence, applying the constitutional right of privilege against self-incrimination.
On 17 January 2018, judge of the Shakhunsky District Court of the Nizhny Novgorod region Valentina Smelova passed a judgment of conviction with regard to former investigative officer of the Department of the Interior for the Shakhunsky District Andrey Tumanov, who was declared guilty of committing a crime under item “a” part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“abuse of office with the use of violence”) and sentenced to four years’ conditional term.
After the verdict took its legal effect, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to court with two lawsuits on behalf of Denis Kramchaninov seeking a compensation of moral damage inflicted to Denis Kramchaninov by illegal activities of the convicted law-enforcement officer.
On 31 May, 2018, judge of the Shakhunsky District Court Valentina Smelova partially satisfied the claims under the lawsuit, having declared a ruling to collect three hundred and fifty thousand rubles from the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for the benefit of Denis Kramchaninov out of the claimed seven hundred thousand. The victim was satisfied with the compensation, however, the Ministry of the Interior representative Natalya Rozhnova did not agree with the court ruling: in her opinion, the amount of the awarded compensation was very much overrated.
Later on, the panel of judges of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court, having reviewed the appellate appeal of the representative of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia, dismissed it and upheld the ruling of the Shakhunsky District Court.
Today, the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling with regard to Denis Kramchaninov’s complaint. The Strasbourg judges established that the applicant was subjected to tortures in violation of Article 3 of the Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The ECHR also established that the Russian authorities failed to timely conduct an effective investigation with regard to the fact of applying violence against the applicant by a police officer.
With regard to this, the applicant was awarded a compensation in the amount of 34400 Euro.
“The Russian Government asked to declare the application not acceptable and claimed that Kramchaninov lost the status of victim in the case, as the authorities at the national level identified and convicted the police officer who tortured the applicant, as well as compensated moral damage to Kramchaninov in the amount of 350 000 rubles. Despite the fact that the victim did not appeal against this sum, the European Court dismissed the above-mentioned arguments of the authorities, having awarded a compensation adequate to the ECHR standards”, – lawyer with the international & legal department with the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments.