The European Court will examine application concerning tortures at the police department in the Moscow region


07 May 2020

Today, on 7 May 2020, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the European Court of Human Rights with an application on behalf of Viktor Lukyan – he claims to have been beaten and tortured with electricity at the Domodedovo police department in 2018 when he was forced to confess of murder. The criminal case with regard to the fact of torture was never opened – the investigators issued four illegal refusals with this regard – and Lukyan is sentenced to six years of jail time for murder.  

In September 2018, Viktor Lukyan from Domodedovo town in the Moscow region applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. He told human rights defenders that in the night of 25 May 2018 when he was sleeping at his house, two police officers broke in, apprehended him and took him to the local police department.

That is how Lukyan describes the events that followed: “At the police department I was taken to the room on the second floor, about seven investigative officers were there. They started to ask me if I killed D. (local resident – author’s note). I replied negatively, saying I had nothing to do with it. They started to explain that confessing of murder would decrease my sentence”. In response, Viktor told the police officers only the information which was known to the whole Barybino microdistrict, that several days ago a body of a man with stab wounds was found on the bank of a local pond.   

“I was taken outside and brought to the garage at the territory of the police department. They put some oilskin on the floor of the garage and put up a chair with a steel frame, and told me to sit on it. They tied my legs with scotch tape, each one separately to the legs of the chair, and tied my arms to the back of the chair. They took my slippers and socks off me, and put a wire (stripped end) to the toe of my left feet, and put a black plastic bag on my head. I felt a sharp electric shock.   The investigative officers demanded that I confessed of murder and I denied my guilt, – Viktor Lukyan describes. – Tortures lasted for about forty minutes, I suffered a lot. I passed out and came back to my senses because they poured water on me”.   

According to Viktor, the police officers also beat his head and face, and, having yielded to torture, he signed all the documents that the police officers gave him to sign.

In 2019, the Domodedovo City Court declared Lukyan guity of murder and sentenced him to six years’ prison term.  

According to the results of medical forensic examination, Viktor Lukyan received the following bodily injuries: “Extravasation on the lids of the left eye, extravasation in the zygomatic region on the left with transfer onto ear auricle, extravasation on both wrists, extravasation on the lower third of the left thigh, extravasation in the area of the left ankle-joint”. These injuries, according to the expert of the Bureau of medical forensic expert examination for the Moscow region, are obtained as a result of the impact force and compression.  

For two years already, the special department of the Chief Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Moscow region – department for investigating crimes committed by law-enforcement officials – has been conducting a check based on Viktor Lukyan report on police torture.   

Totally during the pre-investigative check the investigators issued four refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, all of them were declared illegal and quashed. At the present time the check is resumed. For two years, the investigators never questioned all the police officers, whom Lukyan identifies as persons who applied violence against him. The video surveillance records from the police department and temporary detention facility were not obtained. The incident scene – the garage on the territory of the police department – was never examined.   
“The investigators, who were involved in the check of the Lukyan’s complaint against the police torture, are openly resisting the effective investigation, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Petr Khromov, representing the interests of Viktor Lukyan, comments. – At the initial stage of the torture complaint the investigator refused to conduct an expert examination to establish that Lukyan has electrical injuries, and now it is impossible to put them to record. The investigators only reviewed our motions on checking activities only after we applied to court.  And, even despite the fact that the court ruling was available, we still were not provided with an opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the full scope of the material of the check”.

Due to failure to ensure an effective investigation of Viktor Lukyan’s complaint at the national level, today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture have been forced to apply on his behalf to the European Court of Human Rights. Human rights defenders think that Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights was violated with regard to Lukyan, which guarantees the prohibition from torture and the right to an effective investigation.

“The check of Lukyan’s complaint against the police torture was assigned to the investigators of the same investigative department, which dealt with the criminal case against Lukyan who was charged with murder. This circumstance alone tells about inefficiency of the investigators’ work with regard to Lukyan’s complaint about the police battery, – lawyer with the international legal protection with the Committee Against Torture Mariya Zadorozhnaya comments. – Apart from that, when refusing to initiate criminal proceedings, the investigators relied only on the police officers’ version of events that Lukyan received his numerous bodily injuries during apprehension.  However, this version is countered by the weight of evidence collected in the case – witnesses’ explanations and medical documents”.  

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