The European Court asked questions to the Russian Federation concerning the complaint of a citizen from Orenburg about the police torture


14 June 2018

The European Court of Human Rights submitted a number of questions to the Russian Federation concerning the complaint of Aleksey Sinegubov from Orenburg about the police torture. For seven years the regional Investigative Department has been refusing to initiate criminal case and perform investigation of this complaint. Now, our state will have to submit its comments with regard to this case to the ECHR.

On 6 September 2011, Nadezhda Sinegubova applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to her, her son Aleksey was tortured by the police officers. Later on, Aleksey applied to human rights defenders himself.

He reported that in the night from 23 to 24 February 2011 he went out to buy cigarettes. He was stopped near the food stall by the police officers who told him he should go to the police department with them because he fits the description of some wanted person.

– When we came to the police department, a girl went out, looked at me, and said, “This is him!” Then I was taken to the cell for the detained, – Aleksey recalls.

According to Sinegubov, the whole next day investigative officers “worked” with him – forced to confess of an assault related to robbery against the girl. Aleksey claims to have been humiliated, hit with a gas mask on his head, hit numerous times all over his body, blocked the air access with a plastic bag, as a result of which he lost consciousness. According to Aleksey, he never confessed of having committed this crime.

Late in the evening Sinegubov was taken to the temporary detention cell. There numerous bodily injuries were registered on him: “extravasations in the area of the right shoulder, in the area of axillary cavities, in the loin area on the left, on the chest area on the right, abrasion on the forehead on the right, abrasions on the hairy part of the head, abrasions on both wrists made by handcuffs, swelling of the knee joint on the right, the joint is limited in its movement”.

In July 2011 Aleksey Sinegubov was declared guilty of assault related to robbery. He was sentenced to five years of prison time. .

In March, Sinegubov applied to the investigative authorities with a torture complaint. During the seven-years pre-investigative check twenty refusals to initiate criminal proceedings were issued, which were subsequently quashed as illegal and ungrounded at the initiative of lawyers with the Committee Against Torture. However, no criminal case was opened.

Having exhausted all possible remedies for restoring Sinegubov’s rights at the domestic level, in June 2014, human rights defenders submitted a complaint on his behalf to the European Court of Human Rights. After four years, the complaint was communicated: the Strasbourg court posed questions to the Russian Federation on whether the applicant was subjected to torture and whether the investigation of this incident was efficient.

“The check which was performed by the investigative authorities based on the Sinegubov’s complaint, represents a classical example of red tape, when checking activities aiming at identification and registration of the traces of crime are not performed timely; the material is handed over from one investigator to another; the Prosecutor’s Office requirements are not fulfilled, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments. – For seven years of the check the investigator never evaluated Aleksey’s bodily injuries, or explanations of the witnesses who saw in what condition Sinegubov was led out of the police department. We hope that the complaint communication will motivate the investigative authorities to perform an efficient investigation, after all”.

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