The Head of the Neftekamsk Criminal Investigation, accused of torture, is taken into custody


19 January 2017

Today the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan satisfied the appeal of the Prosecutor’s Office to select the measure of judicial restraint in the form of taking into custody with relation to Head of the Criminal Investigation of the Neftekamsk Police Ilvir Sagitov who is charged with tortures of local citizen Vener Mardamshin. The defendant was taken into custody in the court room. 

(Ilvir Sagitov, photo: https://02.мвд.рф)

Let us remind you that on 22 November 2016 Vener Mardamshin applied to the Committee for the Prevention of Tortures asking for legal assistance. He said that on 10 November of this year he was captured by four men; they handcuffed his hands, put a plastic bag on his head, pushed into the car and drove him away in the unknown direction. According to Vener, it turned out later that those were the policemen who took him to the local police department. After that they started beating him using truncheons and an electric shocker forcing him to confess of kidnapping of a woman. But the policemen’s attempts to obtain a confession of the committed crime from Vener were unsuccessful and they released him after taking an explanatory statement from him where he stated that he had been drinking alcohol with friends and had no claims against the policemen.

According to Mardamshin, an acquaintance of him helped him to get home. Vener’s wife called an ambulance, and the man was taken to the hospital in Neftekamsk, where he was receiving treatment until 21 November, and then was transferred to the hospital of Ufa. Totally, Mardamshin spent twenty seven days receiving hospital treatment. The doctors of Neftekamsk hospital registered the following diagnosis in the discharge summary of the sick person: «Concomitant injury, closed craniocerebral injury. Brain concussion. Concussion of cervical vertebrae. Closed compression fracture of the body of vertebra L1. Closed (old?) fracture of L1 spine vertebra on the right. Concussion of the left side of the pelvis. Both kidneys contusion. Gross hematuria. Numerous concussions, bruises, scratch marks and pinpoint wounds of the soft tissues of the head, body, upper and lower limbs. Post-traumatic ischemic neuropathy of radial nerve of the left forearm. Post-traumatic ischemic neuropathy of the fibular nerve of the left lower leg».

(Photo: Vener Mardamshin)

On 12 November Gulnaz Mardamshina (Vener’s wife) applied to Neftekamsk inter-regional investigation department of Investigation Division of Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation for the Republic of Bashkortostan with the crime report. A month later investigator of this department Andrey Nagornov passed a resolution on initiating a criminal case based on the signs of the crime under the items “a, b” Part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“Abuse of office using violence and special means”).

When Vener was on medical rehabilitation receiving treatment at Orenburg health resort “Stroitel” policemen from Neftekamsk came there on 20 December. Mardamshin was arrested on suspicion of committing a number of crimes dated 12 November of the previous year within the framework of investigating the criminal case which has been suspended until recently.

As it turned out in the course of the proceedings of preliminary investigation conducted by the investigating group, the report of the criminal investigation department special agents dated 16 December this year (four days after initiating a criminal case upon the fact of the tortures) stating that Mardamshin was involved in perpetration of the investigated crimes became the reason for reopening this criminal case and arrest of Mardamshin.

On 21 December judge of Neftekamsk city court of the Republic of Bashkortostan Kuchura announced the verdict on restraining Mardamshin in the form of detention for two months; Mardamshin was charged with committing crimes under Part 3 Article 162 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“Robbery”) and items “a, c” Part 2 Article 166 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“Joyriding”).

As the human rights defenders found out on 20 December (on the day of detention of Mardamshin) and approximately at the same time a man who had seen Vener on 10 November with the signs of bodily injuries at the local police department was arrested. A criminal case has already been opened in respect of this person; allegedly, he was arrested near the house by the officers of Neftekamsk police conducting special investigating activities and they confiscated from this person narcotic drug weighing 1.66 grams.

The partner of the arrested person told the human rights defenders that her husband fearing that he would be facing the problem of pressure because of the evidence that he had given was trying to leave the flat for three weeks; and right before he was arrested a local district police officer asked him to go outside for a conversation.

According to the information of the lawyers of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, late in the evening of 23 December this person was released from the Temporary Containment Cell after he gave testimony to the investigator of the Neftekamsky Interregional Investigative Department that on 10 November 2016 he stayed at home the whole day, and consequently, could not have seen Mardamshin at the local police department. The current whereabouts of this man are not known.

In their turn, the human rights defenders organized a complex medical and chemical examination of Vener Mardamshin which was conducted by the experts of Autonomous Non-commercial Organization “Forensic Examinations and Research Center.” In the course of this examination it was established that Mardamshin was inflicted grave bodily harm, signs of metalizing process were revealed, which are indicative for electrical injuries.

On 27 December it became known that the criminal case based on the fact of Mardamshin’s torture, initiated on 12 December of this year, was transferred to the second department for major cases of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Republic of Bashkortostan.

«After the initiating the criminal proceedings on abuse of office by the police officers the victim and the witness in the case were arrested by the court on application of the investigators of the Ministry of the Interior on suspicion of a number of crimes, subject to investigation by the police authorities. In order to check the theory of illegal apprehension and arrest of the above-mentioned persons an investigative group headed by First Deputy Head of the Investigative Department for the Republic of Bashkortostan Rim Akhatovich Gabdullin left for Neftekamsk. This group also included the Head of the Second Department for Major Cases and the investigator of the same department», – the authority’s web site informed, among other things.

On 29 December, in the course of appealing against the ruling of the Neftekamsky City Court on judicial restraint of Mardamshin in the form of 2 months of custodial detention the Prosecutor’s Office representative pointed out that he did not see the grounds for judicial restraint and asked the court to cancel this ruling. Having listened to the arguments of the parties, the court passed a ruling on cancelling the judicial restraint for Mardamshin.

At the same time, according to the information of human rights defenders, on 27 December Head of the Criminal Investigation Ilvir Sagitov was apprehended on suspicion of crime under parts “a, b” of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation («Abuse of office using violence and special equipment»).

On 29 December judge of the Neftekamsky City Court Aleksandr Akulov refused to take Ilvir Sagitov into custody, motivating his ruling by the fact that Sagitov was temporarily suspended from his position and could not exert any influence on Mardamshin.

The Prosecutor’s Office of Neftekamsk did not agree to this ruling and appealed against it. One of the arguments of the appellate appeal was the fact that Sagitov may exert influence on Mardamshin through his subordinates, despite his temporary suspension from duty, including by way of seizing and destroying documents and material evidence. In addition, the Prosecutor’s Office pointed out that it is based on Sagitov’s information that criminal prosecution against Vener himself was initiated and that this «circumstance is consistent with the testimony of V.R.Mardamshin about threats from I.I.Sagitov to organize criminal prosecution, in case he refuses to dismiss his complaint addressed to the Investigative Committee on bringing the police officers to criminal prosecution».

Today the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan satisfied the appellate appeal of the Prosecutor’s Office on selecting the measure of judicial restraint with regard to Ilvir Sagitov in the form of detention in custody. The court passed a ruling to keep the defendant into custody till 12 February. 

«We definitely are satisfied with the ruling of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan, which put into custody the person who has wide opportunities to obstruct the course of investigation, – lawyer of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Evgeny Litvinov comments. – In support of its arguments the Prosecutor’s Office in its appellate appeal provided a whole range of facts which testified that Sagitov tried to influence the result of the investigation performed based on Vener’s complaint about tortures, using, among other things, threats of criminal prosecution.  We think that at the present time taking into custody of the only suspect will expedite the course of investigation and will allow identifying all the persons involved in Vener Mardamshin’s tortures».

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