The European Court posed questions to Russia with regard to the complaint of a citizen from Orenburg about tortures that took place eight years ago

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01 October 2018

The European Court of Human Rights communicated a complaint submitted by the lawyers of the Committee Against Torture in the interests of Vladimir Prytkov from Orenburg: the Strasbourg judges posed questions to the Russian Federation on whether the applicant was subjected to torture, and whether the investigation of his complaint against the police battery was effective at the national level.


(Vladimir Prytkov)

As we have previously reported, on 19 July 2010 Vladimir Prytkov from Orenburg applied to the regional branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance – the man claimed that he was severely beaten up by the policemen from 2nd Operational Investigation Unit of the Orenburg Regional Directorate of the Interior.

As Vladimir told the human right defenders, on 19 May 2010 he was detained at work and delivered to the police department. There, according to Prytkov, he was beaten and tortured for about four hours with the purpose of making him confess that he together with his brother was involved in car theft, or to pay a bribe so that he would be only a witness in this case, unlike his brother. Having failed to obtain a confession from Vladimir, the police had to release him.

After such «conversation» with the representatives of the authorities Vladimir went straight to the city hospital No.1, and after his condition grew worse he was urgently hospitalized in the city clinical hospital named after N.I.Pirogov. The following diagnosis was established: «combined craniocerebral injury, brain contusion of medium severity, subarachnoid hemorrhage, contusions of soft tissues of the head, chest contusion, arterial hypertension of 1 and 2 degree. Asthenoneurotic syndrome».

After he was released from the Pirogov hospital as an in-patient Vladimir was undergoing out-patient treatment in its outpatient clinic for three months.

On 28 June 2010 Prytkov submitted a crime report upon the fact of police abuse to investigative authorities, however for over a year the investigators failed to open a criminal case. Only on 16 November 2011 it was opened on the grounds of evidence of a crime under Article 286 (3) (a) of the Criminal Code of Russia (exceeding official powers with the use of violence).

Despite numerous motions for conducting investigating actions and complaints against inaction of the investigative authorities, submitted by the human rights defenders on behalf of Prytkov, the case was repeatedly dismissed on the grounds that no crime had been committed.
 
It is worth noting that on 7 November 2014, as a result of investigative bodies’ obvious lack of desire to investigate a criminal case based on the fact of Vladimir Prytkov’s police torture, human rights defenders were forced to apply to the European Court of Human Rights.

Despite this, the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture continued their work on the case at national level, too.
In December 2017 investigator Dmitry Gryazev at last satisfied human rights defenders’ motion and performed face-to-face confrontations between the victim and the operational personnel whom Mr Prytkov accuses of torture.

In the course of this investigative activity the police officers provided contradictory and inconsistent evidence. They failed to explain how the blood came about in their office, the blood which, according to expert examination, may belong to Mr Prytkov. This blood falls into rare fourth category with negative Rh factor, same as Prytkov’s blood.

In addition, the police officers also failed to explain why they took Vladimir Prytkov to the police department and which legal grounds they had for that, as well as why the young man who used to be in perfect health when he was delivered to the police department, developed numerous bodily injuries after communication with them.

However, investigator Dmitry Gryazev was satisfied with explanations of the police officers and in January of this year passed another dismissal of the criminal case. On 4 May, after the human rights defenders’ complaint, this ruling was quashed by the Prosecutor’s Office, and the case was re-submitted for additional investigation.

New investigator for this case, Andrey Zhilyaev, without conducting a single investigative activity, on 28 June passed another ruling on dismissal of this case. The lawyers with the Committee Against Torture appealed against this ruling at court, also.
 
Today, at the European Court for Human Rights’ website there appeared information that the complaint in the interests of Vladimir Prytkov was communicated.

The Strasbourg judges posed the following questions to the Russian Federation:
 
– taking into account the bodily injuries, detected on the applicant, was he subjected to torture,

– whether the state provided a credible explanation of how the applicant obtained these bodily injuries,

– whether the authorities conducted effective investigation on the applicant’s complaint about torture.

“After Russia answers these questions, a possibility to give our own evaluation of the state’s arguments will be provided to us as Vladimir Prytkov’s representatives, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin says. – We also will definitely inform the European Court that, in the course of the investigation, the Investigative Committee lost the blood washings taken from the operational officers room, where, according to Prytkov, he was tortured. In addition, we will bring to the attention of the ECHR that after the complaint was submitted to Strasbourg, the red tape in the case continued”.