The General Prosecutor’s Office compelled the Investigative Committee to resume the check based on the fact of abduction and tortures of a citizen from Nizhny Novgorod in 2004


02 August 2017

Deputy General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation Sergey Zaitsev quashed the 16th illegal refusal to initiate criminal proceedings based on the fact of abduction and torture of Aleksandr Novoselov by the police officers in 2004. The material is sent for the additional check. Taking into account highly inefficient performance of the investigators with regard to the Novoselov’s application, lawyers with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, representing his interests, intend to submit a complaint to the European Court. 

(Photo: Aleksandr Novoselov)

As we have previously reported, on 28 November 2013 the European Court of Human Rights already delivered judgment in the case of Aleksandr Novoselov who was in 2004 abducted by police officers, taken to the forest and under torture forced to confess to an attempted murder of a notorious businessman from Nizhny Novgorod, Oleg Sorokin. Later all the charges were dropped against Aleksandr, and what he had been subjected to was explained as some «operative drill» conducted by the police. However, the ECHR came to the conclusion that Mr Novoselov was tortured by representatives of state authorities, and the inquiry into his allegations of ill-treatment was «superficial and formalistic». The European Court held that Russia is to pay the applicant EUR 27,500.

The circumstances of this case are as follows. In May 2005 Aleksandr Novoselov applied to the Committee Against Torture seeking legal assistance. According to the applicant, at about 10 a.m. on 27 April 2004, on one of central squares of the city, he was stopped by several men he was not acquainted with. The men dragged him into a car, beat up and drove to a forest in Balakhinskiy district of Nizhny Novgorod region. Shortly after, a white all-road car arrived there, and several men stepped out of it. One of them, as Mr Novoselov insists, looked very much like businessman Sorokin. The men were threatening Aleksandr with a gun and beating him, accusing him of an attempt to murder the businessman. Then a man in camouflage rammed a gun in the applicant’s mouth, making his lower lip bleed. Aleksandr once again denied any involvement in the attempt on the businessman’s life, and the men put a plastic bag over his head, cutting off the air supply. The man looking like Oleg Sorokin said: «Take an axe, let’s cut his leg off». Seeing an axe in one of the men’s hands, Aleksandr felt fear for his life and decided to sign the statements wanted from him. The men also made a video record of him giving confession statements.

The battery resulted in serious bodily injuries. Aleksandr was later diagnosed with contusion of the right kidney, a brain contusion, bruising of the soft tissue of the face and limbs, blood in the urine, a subarachnoid haemorrhage and a fracture of the right ninth rib and other injuries.

Mr Novoselov firstly filed complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office. The investigative body refused to initiate criminal proceedings against the police officers, assertedly basing this decision on the results of a pre-investigation inquiry. The reasoning was the following: Aleksandr Novoselov appeared to have been involved in an operative drill performed by the Directorate of the Interior for Nizhny Novgorod region servicemen, and one of them «was disguised as O.V. Sorokin».

Having failed to attain justice on the national level, on 24 December 2005 lawyers of the Committee Against Torture lodged the relevant application with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Aleksandr Novoselov.

Due to the judgment in this case delivered by the European Court for Human Rights, on 12 November 2014 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation compelled the investigative authorities to restart the proceedings based on the complaint of Aleksandr Novoselov due to new circumstances. 

At first the check on the Aleksandr Novoselov’s application was performed by the first department for major cases of the regional investigative department. Later the material was handed over to the third investigative department (located in Nizhny Novgorod) of the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. 

By the present time the investigators have already issued 16 refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, which were subsequently quashed as illegal. The last “refusal” was quashed by Deputy General Prosecutor Sergey Zaitsev, and now the investigators are conducting additional check.   

“The persons guilty of Aleksandr Novoselov’s tortures will not undergo any punishment by now, since the period of limitations for prosecution has expired, – lawyer with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Sergey Shounin comments. – In April 2019 the period of limitations for prosecution with regard to abduction expires, as well. Taking into account highly inefficient performance of the investigators with regard to this case, we intend to submit a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Aleksandr”.

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