In Orenburg, the criminal case investigation based on the fact of incitement to suicide of convict Aleksandr Belousov at Penal Colony No.4 is dismissed for the second time. Previously, he complained that the colony officers abused him: hit him, did not provide medical assistance, dipped his head into the toilet pit. Investigator Vladimir Yartsev came to conclusion that the convict attempted suicide in order to ensure “softening his terms of serving punishment”. In addition, in his ruling on the case dismissal the investigator pointed out that during questioning lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin did not inform about Belousov’s complaint concerning torture, although the human rights defender not only informed about it, but also presented the investigative authorities with an audio record of his conversation where Belousov says that the penal colony officers are inciting him to suicide with their illegal actions.
As we have previously reported, on 5 August 2019, а man called to the Committee Against Torture and presented himself as Aleksandr Belousov. He told human rights defenders that he was serving sentence at Penal Colony No.4 of the Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for the Orenburg region. Aleksandr reported that he and other convicts are regularly subjected to abuse and battery by the penal institution officers. According to Aleksandr, the convicts’ abuse and abasement of human dignity by the way of dipping their heads in the toilet pit is in common practice at the penal colony.
According to Aleksandr, he was inflicted serious sufferings due to the fact that the penal colony officers refused to provide him with appropriate medical assistance for asthma treatment.
Due to all these reasons, as Aleksandr indicated, he committed suicide attempts — cut his hands. The person who called asked human rights defenders to hand the data he reported over to the Prosecutor’s Office, as well as distribute the information on what is going on in the social media or hand it over to mass media.
“I decided to commit suicide because I don’t have any more patience to endure all this lawlessness. They have this thing which they call “stretching”, it is when they hit your head against the wall and kick your feet – it’s supposed to be stretching. It was a common practice to apply it for failure to comply with anything. Another thing when the convicts were bent, brought to the toilet bowl and their heads were dipped into it. So they do all this in such a way that there is little beating as such. I submitted several complaints, as I understand they absolutely don’t go anywhere from here. I have nothing to fear anymore. My head was dipped into the toilet pit, I was beaten up”, — Aleksandr Belousov told over the phone.
On the next day, lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin handed over the data submitted by Belousov to the Prosecutor’s Office providing supervision of legal compliance at penal institutions.
On 12 August, some man called human rights defenders office, this time some unknown man called who reported that Aleksandr Belousov hanged himself. On the same day, the parents of the deceased, Tatyana Belousov and Sergey Belousov applied to the Committee Against Torture. In their statement they asked to conduct a public investigation and render legal assistance based on the fact of their son’s death. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report as well as submitted a number of motions to perform checking activities.
On 3 September, Senior Investigator of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Department for the Northern Administrative District of Orenburg of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Orenburg region Lyubov Dyekina opened a criminal case with regard to the crime committed against Aleksandr Belousov, provided by part 1 of Article 110 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“incitement to suicide”).
On 31 October, investigator of the same department Vladimir Yartsev dismissed the criminal case due to the absence of the event of crime. However, this ruling was quashed by the superiors as illegal.
After the investigation of the criminal case was resumed, it was extended several times.
Only on 30 April 2020, eight months after the investigation started, investigator Vladimir Yartsev decided to question lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin, with whom Aleksandr Belousov talked a few days before his death. Upon the human rights defender’s request, the audio record of that conversation was attached to the materials of the criminal case, where the deceased informs about his intention to commit suicide due to systematic abuse by the Federal Penitentiary Service officers.
Today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received a copy of the ruling on dismissal of this criminal case, dated 7 May of this year.
“The actions which led to A.S.Belousov suicide were committed on his own aiming at softening of the terms of servicing his punishment, without involvement of third parties, i.e., they are not criminal”, – investigator Yartsev indicates in his ruling.
In addition, according to the investigator’s theory, the deceased convict did not submit “any complaints that someone mistreated him or was inciting him to suicide” to lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin, although during the questioning Rakhmatulin stated quite the opposite.
“I think that in his ruling to dismiss the criminal case the investigator intentionally omits the information provided by me concerning the fact that shortly before his death Belousov informed me about his intention to take his own life due to systematic humiliation and absence of proper medical assistance, – Timur Rakhmatulin comments on the dismissal on the criminal case. – During the interrogation I told the investigator that, according to Belousov, his head was dipped into the toilet pit, which, evidently, could become a strong psycho-traumatic event in the life of the convict, who took his life less than two months before the release from the penal colony. In addition, the investigator evaded from evaluation of the audio record of my conversation with Belousov, although, evidently, this record is one of the key evidences in the case. After familiarization with the materials of the criminal case, we intend to insist on resuming the investigation and punishing investigator Yartsev”.