The European Court will examine another complaint against torture at the Nizhny Novgorod police


10 January 2019
Oleg Krayushkin, photo: Mikhail Solunin / Mediazona

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the European Court of Human Rights with a complaint in the interests of Oleg Krayushkin from Nizhny Novgorod, who accuses the police officers of torture. At first, Russian investigators issued seven refusals to initiate a torture case, then, they suspended the investigation eight times, as a result, they dismissed it, referring to the evidence taken from the police officers, and conflicting information from some classified witness.

As we have previously reported, in September 2012 businessman from Pavlovo city Oleg Krayushkin applied to the INGO «Committee Against Torture» for legal assistance. According to Mr Krayushkin, on 11 September, following numerous demands to confess of stealing a sawmill, the policemen in one of the rooms of the Pavlovsky police department started to torture him. Krayushkin was forced to take off his boots and kneel, and then they started hitting him with a truncheon on his feet.

“They also hit me in the ears and face. Several times they hit me with a truncheon in the groin area”, Krayushkin recalls.

Oleg refused to defame himself confessing of committing the crime, and, as a result, he was taken to a temporary detention facility. On the next day he was taken to court, where the judge decided to put him under house arrest. A criminal case was initiated against the entrepreneur, however, it collapsed soon, and real culprits were brought to justice.

Despite the evidence of the elements of crime, the investigator of the Pavlovsky interregional investigative department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region failed to open the criminal case for a year, having issued seven unlawful refusals to initiate criminal proceedings. Only on 16 August 2013, the criminal case was initiated against unidentified police officers based on the elements of crime under item “a” of part 3, Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence”).

Later on, the criminal case was illegally suspended eight times.

On 1 July 2016, after numerous complaints made by the human rights defenders, including the application to Alexander Bastrykin, the Chairperson of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation, there was some progress in the case. The case was transferred to senior investigator with the First Department for Major Cases of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Nizhny Novgorod region Anna Molodtsova. At first investigator Molodtsova performed some investigating activities that the colleagues from Pavlov city had not had time to do for some unknown reasons. It was in summer 2016, almost four years after the events, when the necessary face-to-face confrontations were conducted. But on 28 September 2016 the case was dismissed.

As it follows from the resolution of the regional Prosecutors’ Office on case dismissal, the main theory of the official investigation was that it was not the police officers who inflicted injuries to Oleg Krayushkin, but he inflicted those on himself, as a result of having fallen from a logging truck. The police officers’ evidence was quoted to confirm this, as well as evidence received from some “Sidorov P.I.”, the real name of whom was kept secret by the investigation.  

“Sidorov” told the investigation that on the wake of his apprehension Krayushkin allegedly talked with him and with other witness, Gogolev, claiming that he was planning to defame the police officers.

However, human rights defenders found out that Gogolev and Krayushkin are not acquainted and never communicated.  

After disclosing this information, the classified witness “Sidorov” provided other evidence to the investigation – that he mistook his identity, and Krayushkin was telling him about his plans not in the presence of Gogolev, but of other person.

“As a result, this “other person” was never questioned, apparently, investigator Molodtsova decided that contradictory and conflicting evidence received from the classified witness was enough”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Vladimir Smirnov.

The Prosecutor’s office declared the ruling of investigator Molodtsova to be illegal and quashed it. The next similar ruling was also declared illegal and quashed. On 21 January 2017, the criminal case on Oleg Krayushkin torture was dismissed the third time. The Prosecutor’s Office, and later on, the court, despite numerous faults of the investigation, described in human rights defenders’ complaints, declared this ruling to be legal.

With regard to this, today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the European Court of Human Rights.

“We are convinced that the investigation failed to prove that Krayushkin received injuries on his own before the apprehension, allegedly, having unsuccessfully fallen from a logging truck, – lawyer with the department of international legal protection with the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments. – The investigators did not bother to justify this theory either with an expert examination or any other evidence, having satisfied themselves with the police officers’ evidence only, and the data that was never checked and received from the classified witness. The theory of the applicant, on the contrary, is confirmed by the whole range of evidence: medical documentation and witnesses’ statements”.

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