The investigation of two deaths by violence at the Nizhny Novgorod penal colony No.14 will be conducted at the regional level

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27 April 2018

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin successfully insisted on transfer of the criminal cases based on the fact of deaths of two convicts at Penal Colony No.14 (the Nizhny Novgorod region, Sukhovobezvodnoye settlement) to the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region. As we have previously reported, the investigation of these criminal cases was suspended by district investigators for three times.

In June 2015 after the check that revealed “the facts of violations of the official activities”, head of Penal Colony No. 14 Vasily Voloshin was dismissed from office. On 16 July 2015 a criminal case was initiated against him, and in October of the same year Vasily Voloshin was put on the federal and international wanted list with regard to the charges of committing a number of property crimes.

On 15 September 2015 Sergey Kalyakin applied to human rights defenders for legal assistance – his son Aleksandr died in July 2012 in Penal Colony No.14. Extract from posthumous expert examination of Aleksandr Kalyakin testifies of numerous bodily injuries which were revealed on him: “Closed blunt craniocerebral injury, fractures of 5th, 6th ribs on the left and 5th on the right, 6 bruises of the back surface of the neck. 2 bruises of the gluteal region with hemorrhaging into soft tissues. Two bruises of the left lower leg. Bruise of the right thigh. “Florid bruises” of the anterior abdominal wall, right shoulder, projections of the thigh joint. Bruise of the left part of the frontal region with hemorrhaging into soft tissues of the left part of the frontal region. Hemorrhaging into soft tissues of the lumbar region. Contused wound of the right external ear”.

That was also when, in September 2015, Nina Markova applied to human rights defenders asking to initiate public investigation based on the fact of violent death of her brother, Aleksandr Kulemin, in November 2014, at the same Penal Colony No.14. Kulemin started to serve the sentence at the same penal colony in October 2014, and as early as in November Markova received a telegram about the death of her brother.
 
Posthumous expert examination of Aleksandr Kulemin also registered numerous bodily injuries on his body: “Closed blunt craniocerebral injury, bruises of the frontal region, nose, extravasation of the upper lid of the left eye, hemorrhagings in the soft tissues of the head in the frontal region, in the circumference of the left and the right cerebral hemispheres (each 15 ml in volume), under soft brain tunics on hemispherical surface of the left and right frontal lobes, swell and cerebral compression, focal hemorrhaging with degeneration of cerebral tissue in the brainstem, closed indirect fractures of the 5-th, 6-th and 7-th ribs on the left, bruises of the left forearm, right forearm, in the area of the left elbow joint, the first finger of the right foot, the second finger of the right foot, the first finger of the left foot, extravasation in the area of the right elbow joint”.

Despite the described bodily injuries, the official special reports of Penal Colony No.14 superiors with regard to these deaths feature one and the same preliminary diagnosis: “acute cardiovascular inefficiency”.

The criminal case with regard to the death of Kalyakin was opened on 31 March 2015, with regard to the death of Kulemin – on 18 May 2015. According to the investigators, in both cases a crime under part 4 Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Russia (“intended infliction of grave bodily harm causing the victim’s death by negligence”) was committed.

The investigation of both criminal cases was suspended three times due to impossibility to identify the culprits. However, subsequently all the rulings on suspending were quashed by higher superiors due to incompleteness of the investigation.

Last time the preliminary investigation was resumed on 8 February 2018.

After the application of lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Shounin, representing the interests of the relatives of the deceased convicts, during the personal appointment with head of the regional Investigative Department Andrey Vinogradov the case was handed over from the proceedings of the Semenovsky Interdistrict Investigative Department for checking, based on which it was decided to conduct further investigation by forces of regional investigators.

“Transfer of these criminal cases to the investigative department is, definitely, a positive fact, – Sergey Shounin comments. – Taking into account that three years passed since the criminal cases were initiated, it’s the efficiency of the work on the case which is of utmost importance. A lot of evidence has been lost over the years, but we are sure that with proper efficiency and thoroughness, and, most importantly, will, the investigators will be able to identify those who are guilty of the death of Kalyakin and Kulemin”.

Penal Colony No. 14 has been in the sphere of attention of human rights activists with the Committee Against Torture and members of Human Rights Observance in Detention Facilities Public Monitoring Committee for a long time.

The penal institution became notorious due to a large number of complaints against brutal treatment and tortures of convicts, as well as to numerous cases of forcing to confess using tortures and violent actions of sexual character.