The European Court of Human Rights will examine the complaint of a citizen from Nizhny Novgorod concerning tortures by the police in 2010


26 August 2014

Lawyers of Interregional NGO «Committee Against Torture» have lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Yury Benediktovich. In the course of conducted public investigation human right defenders gathered a substantial evidential basis which proves the facts of the victim’s tortures by police officers, as well as the fact of inefficient investigation of these episodes by the investigative bodies.

(Photo: Yury Benediktovich)

As we have previously reported, Yury Benediktovich applied to Nizhny Novgorod regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» seeking legal assistance on 12 October 2010. According to Yury, he had been beaten by the police officers of Arzamas town of Nizhny Novgorod region on September 30, 2010: they beat him n order to make him confess to racketeering and setting the house of certain Mr. Mukhin on fire.

Yury told the human rights defenders that the police officers were beating him for several hours, hitting him in the head and trunk with their hands and a plastic bottle filled with water.
According to the claimant the beating lasted throughout the day and ended only when he eventually signed the full confession and the confessionary statements dictated to him by the police officers.

Later on the paramedics of the Kanavinsky District first aid station and Nizhny Novgorod municipal hospital No.39 diagnosed the following injuries of the victim: a closed fracture of the 3rd metatarsal bone head without a dislocation and a brain concussion. у мужчины следующие повреждения: closed craniocerebral injury, brain concussion, bruises and scratch marks in the area of wrist joints and hands, injuries of soft tissues of his chest on the right and on the left, injury of soft tissues of temporal region on the right.

When Yury started to complain against the actions of law-enforcement officers, the investigators, apparently, decided to teach the obstinate truth-seeker a lesson of their own.

According to Benediktovich, on 17 December 2010 the police officers came to his house and abducted him in the presence of his 9 year old son and took him out of town. There they ordered Yury to run to the forest so that they could shoot him during the attempt to flee. After Yury refused from such a cynical staging of his own murder, he again was hit and kicked. In addition, according to the victim, one of the most aggressive police officers jumped on Yury’s left leg and broke it.

After that Benediktovich was taken to Arzamas Department of Interior, where his condition grew worse. On 19 December he was taken to the first aid station of the local municipal hospital. The hospital doctor determined that Benediktovich had a closed fracture of the 3rd metatarsal bone head without a dislocation and a brain concussion. He recommended Yury in-patient treatment.

And what about the official investigative bodies? Back on 13 October 2010 Benediktovich’s wife applied to Arzamas Interdistrict Investigative Department with a report about the crime committed against her husband by law-enforcement officers. However, on 22 October investigator Suslov (it should be noted that this is the same investigator who was in charge of the criminal case against Benediktovich) hurried to issue a refusal to initiate criminal proceedings: allegedly, no violations during the interrogation were established, and Benediktovich’s injuries were left unexplained. No expert investigations were commissioned.

As a result within three years the investigators of Arzamas Interdistrict Investigative Department issued over thirty refusals to initiate criminal proceedings. The fact of bureaucratic delays was even established by the decision of Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court and Yury Benediktovich was awarded 22 thousand rubles of compensation.

In December 2011 Benediktovich was found guilty of the charged crimes and convicted to 8 years of imprisonment.

Having failed to find justice at the national level lawyers of the Committee Against Torture lodged a complaint on behalf of Yury Benediktovich with the European Court of Human Rights.

Aleksey Matasov, lawyer with Nizhny Novgorod branch of the Committee Against Torture, comments on the situation: «In Benediktovich case we managed to collect conclusive evidence that Yury acquired his injuries when we was under supervision of the authorities. More than that, twice after talking to authorities the man ended up in the hospital with serious injuries. However the investigation treated the citizen’s complaint so formally that even failed to build a chain of events that happened to him. Unfortunately, once again activity of the Investigative Committee, or rather its negligence, will become an issue for examination in the international judicial instance».

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