The Leninsky District Court of Orenburg passed a ruling to collect one hundred thousand roubles from the Ministry of Finance of Russia for the benefit of Ramin Shakhmarov, who was groundlessly suspected of murder of the Orenburg entrepreneur and his son. Despite the fact that Ramin and two more persons previously involved in the case, complained of having been tortured when forced to provide confessions that the investigative authorities required, no criminal case has been opened yet.
As we have previously reported, on 1 June 2018, Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov from Abdulino town applied to the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. The men reported that on 7 March 2018 they were apprehended one by one by the police officers, who, without explaining the reasons, delivered them to Orenburg to the building of the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Orenburg region, located at address: Dubitskogo St., 2.
According to Ramin Shakhmarov, his abuse started in the vehicle which transported him to Orenburg. For example, Ramin’s handcuffed hands were placed on the back of rear seat – he stayed in this position for the duration of the trip which lasted over three hours. Ramin claimed to have been repeatedly insulted because of his ethnic origin.
As Shakhmarov explained, almost immediately upon arrival at the building of the regional Department of the Interior, the police officers started to beat him up, forcing him to confess of committing a crime. He did not know what crime it was. He was also shown some handcuffs and asked whether he recognized them or not.
– Some time later the police officers told me that I killed a man and his little son and suggested that I voluntarily confessed of committing it. I refused, after that the battery continued, – Shakhmarov recalls.
According to Ramin, his nose and mouth were closed with a plastic bag several times to block the air access. At some moment he lost his consciousness and, when he came to his senses, he saw five police officers around him, who looked rather scared.
– After I came to my senses, I sat on the floor. However, the police officers pressed me against the floor and started to thrust against my back and neck, demanding that I confessed of murder. At that moment blood started to come out of my throat. Sometime later the battery stopped. Although, I never signed anything, – Ramin says.
Mushfig Shykhaliyev was also delivered to the building at Dubitskaya street. According to him, the police officers started to beat him up, hitting the head, the back and the abdomen.
– Then they showed photographs of bodies of a man and a kid and told me that my acquaintance and my cousin gave testimony that I did it, – Shykhaliyev recalls. – I tried to explain that I had an alibi and on that day I was in Bashkiria and was buying meat, which is easy to prove with documents. But they replied that no one was going to check anything and I had better confess of everything.
According to Mushfig, one of law-enforcement officers several times pressed on his genitals with his foot for a long time, forcing him to confess. Later on, they beat his feet with an electrical shocker.
– When I asked to take me to toilet, the officer, who was pressing my genitals and hit me in the area of the head, told me that they could bring me to the toilet only to dip my head into the toilet bowl, – Mushfig Shykhaliyev recalls.
In the evening of 8 March both men were taken to the Temporary Detention Cell of Orenburg, and on 10 March the court took Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov under custody as suspected of committing double murder and sent them to Pre-trial Detention Facility No.1. When in Pre-trial Detention Facility, Mushfig Shykhaliyev wrote a full confession. According to him, he wrote it after one of the members of administrative staff made a hint to him that he might be raped if he persisted.
However, on 17 March, Shykhaliyev and Shakhmarov were released from custody due to the absence of the evidence of their guilt – the alibi, which they initially reported, was confirmed: at the time of the murder of the businessman and his son they were in Bashkiria, busy with purchasing some meat.
On 6 June, human rights defenders applied to the Investigative Committee on behalf of Shakhmarov and Shykhaliev with a crime report. On 29 June, the criminal case with regard to the fact of abuse of office was opened, however, as early as on 2 July this ruling was quashed by the Prosecutor’s office.
Starting from 3 July, the investigators of the Third Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF based in Nizhny Novgorod started checking the torture complaint. By the present time, the investigators issued three rulings refusing to initiate criminal proceedings, the last of which is dated 2 November 2018.
In July 2019, human rights defenders applied to court on behalf of Ramin Shakhmarov with a lawsuit on compensation for moral damage inflicted to him by illegal criminal prosecution.
To justify the lawsuit, human rights defenders presented in court, among other things, the conclusion of a psychologist, who confirmed that Shakhmarov had signs of posttraumtic stress disorder, as well as the notes from medical documents confirming deteriorating health of the plaintiff. Shakhmarov evaluated the moral damage inflicted by the illegal criminal prosecution at one million roubles.
Today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received a copy of the ruling of the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg, which passed a ruling on 26 December 2019 to collect one hundred thousand roubles from the Ministry of Finance as a compensation for moral damage.
“We shall definitely appeal against this court ruling and will be insisting on increase of the amount of compensation in the court of the appellate instance. We shall also submit applications on compensation of moral damage on behalf of two more people, previously involved in this criminal case, too, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments. – Just as we did before, we shall be insisting on initiating criminal proceeding with regard to torture”.
Mudarisova expressed her opinion on the investigative authorities’ work: “Despite the fact that Shakhmarov informed the law-enforcement officers that he had an alibi, no one was too eager to check his version of events, instead, he was sent to the investigative cell. And when Ramin was finally released from the Pre-Trial Investigative Facility, he was considered a suspect by the Investigative Committee investigators for almost a year, till 26 December 2018. Ramin learned that all suspicions were lifted from him only after he received official apologies from the General Prosecution Office in April 2019”.
As we have previously reported, in the end of July 2019, the third person who was involved in this case – ex-defendant Mushfig Guliyev – applied to the Committee Against Torture. He told human rights defenders that he was forced by torture to defame Shakhmarov and Shykhaliyev providing false testimony that they killed the Orenburg businessman and his little son.
Guliyev was released from custody two months after the apprehension — his alibi was confirmed by numerous witnesses. However, he was transferred from the Pre-Trial Investigative Facility to a special institution for temporary detention of foreign citizens, because when he was under custody, the period for which he was authorized to stay on the territory of the Russian Federation, expired. Having found himself to be a hostage of the situation, he was forced to wait nine more months to be forcefully deported from Russia.
According to Mushfig, at that time he was afraid to apply to anyone for legal assistance for the fear of his life. And only when he returned to Azerbaijan, he felt safe and decided to apply to the Committee Against Torture.