Today, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling based on a complaint from Aleksandr Rakhmanov from Kstovo town of the Nizhny Novgorod region. The Strasbourg judges established that he was beaten up by the police officers in 2009, and the investigation of this incident was performed inefficiently. The Russian Federation completely acknowledged its guilt in violation of Rakhmanov’s rights and agreed with the proposal of the European Court to settle amicably with his relatives – Aleksandr himself, unfortunately, did not live to see this ruling, he died in 2016.
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.
On 4 June, 2018, the European Court of Human Rights’ website informed that the complaint submitted on behalf of Aleksandr Rakhmanov, was communicated.
Today, the European Court passed a ruling, according to which the Russian Federation acknowledged its guilt in violation of Aleksandr Rakhmanov’s right to freedom from tortures and the right to effective legal remedy. Russia also settled amicably with Rakhmanov’s relatives, in accordance with which it will pay twenty thousand Euro to them as a compensation for moral damage.
Unfortunately, Aleksandr Rakhmanov died in 2016 and will not learn about the ruling with regard to his complaint.
“In this case the decision was made to agree to settle amicably with the Russian authorities, as it was the will of Aleksandr Rakhmanov’s son, who inherited the rights on his complaint at the European Court of Human Rights. Taking into account that the case is not unique and, in essence, is yet another illustration of existing practice of police violence, we agreed to Rakhmanov’s son and notified the Court of his stance”, – head of International Legal Defense Department with the Committee Against Torture Olga Sadovskaya comments.