The criminal case based on the fact of applying violence against Kristina Morozova from Kstovo at the local police department is dismissed at the Nizhny Novgorod region. As we have previously reported, the police officers applied brutal force against her during the examination when she refused to take off her underwear in the presence of men. Subsequently Kristina was diagnosed with closed craniocerebral injury, mild brain contusion, fissured fracture of yoke-bone, fracture of the alisphenoid bone from the left. However, investigator Elena Lyadskaya considered these results of the medical forensic examination to be unconvincing, whereas the evidence of the police officers were considered credible.
(Kristina Morozova, photo: Mikhail Solunin/ Mediazona)
“In the ruling on dismissing the criminal case it is indicated that the investigation was rather skeptical about the results of the initial medical forensic examination, which established that grave bodily harm was inflicted to the victim, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Vladimir Smirnov, representing the interests of Kristina Morozova, comments. – Investigator Elena Lyadskaya is basing on the data of the second expert examination, which indicates that the victim could not have received the whole complex of her bodily injuries in the circumstances that she describes”.
The ruling also features the evidence of a number of witnesses among the court officers, who claim seeing Kristina in the morning after her release from the police department being in good health. The investigative authorities considered the police officers’ evidence, which they provided during interrogations and face-to-face confrontations, to be creditable: the police officers insist that they did not inflict any bodily harm to the victim.
As we have previously reported, Kristina Morozova applied to human rights defenders for legal assistance on 25 October of last year. She reported that in the evening of 9 September she was walking her dog. At some point a police car came to the yard of the building, two police officers in uniforms got out of the car and started to talk to some young men. Based on fragments of phrases that she overheard, Kristina realized that the law-enforcement officers suspected them of something illegal. According to Morozova, after some time she also attracted the attention of the police officers:
– He asked me what I was doing there. I replied that I was walking the dog. At some point my badger-dog jumped on his foot and messed up his trousers. The police officer gave the dog a violent kick, saying: “Your cur has messed me up!”
The conversation that followed turned hostile, and in the end the police officers decided to take the woman, who had no passport on her, to the police department together with her dog.
There, according to Morozova, in the course of heated argument with the police officer, handcuffs were put on her. Sometime later it was decided to take to the cell, and in order to do that, a personal search was proposed to her.
– The policewoman ordered me to take off my bra and simultaneously started to pull my blouse upwards. I refused to do it in the presence of male strangers – a police officer and five detained persons, who could see me through the transparent door of the cell, – remembers Kristina.
Later on, according to Morozova, the policewoman pulled her hands behind her back, brought her to her knees and started to clip off her bra using some rusted scissors. However, tight straps did not yield, and the policewoman started to pull the bra upwards, after that she pushed herself up on me and violently pressed my head against the hard tiled floor with her knee.
– It hurt a lot and I heard a rustle in the left part of my face, where the policewoman pressed with her knee, – Kristina says.
In addition, according to the applicant, another police officer during this execution was sprinkling from the gas spray can in the foreface of her barking dog and in her face, as well.
Kristina spend the whole night in the cell for administratively detained, on the next day she was fined for disobeyance to lawful order of the police officer and for disorderly conduct, after that she was released home.
The criminal case on the crime under item “a” part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“exceeding the official authority”) against the police officers was initiated only on 11 January 2017, after two refusals to initiate criminal proceedings were issued. As the ruling goes, the case was initiated against “unidentified officers of the Department of Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Kstovo District”.
On the other hand, the criminal case against the victim herself under Article 319 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Insult of representative of authority”) was initiated. The investigation into the case was performed promptly, and soon the Kstovo City Court of the Nizhny Novgorod region declared Kristina guilty of committing this crime. However, on 10 November 2017 the court of appeal dismissed the criminal case against Kristina and acknowledged her right to rehabilitation.
Today lawyers of the Committee Against Torture received a copy of the ruling of investigator Elena Lyadskaya on dismissing the criminal case, this time – the one concerning the police officers.
“We definitely don’t agree to this ruling of the investigator and we will appeal against it after examination of the materials of the case, – Smirnov emphasizes. – I assume that out of the three available expert examinations investigator Lyadskaya simply picked the one closest to her legal stance. And this legal stance is based on, among other things, on rather contradictory evidence of the police officers, who got seriously lost in details during the face-to-face confrontation”.
According to Smirnov, it is also important that the investigation failed to provide any legal evaluation of the fact of the examination of the detained using physical force and clipping off the bra in the presence of the people of the opposite sex: “The police officers do not deny either the presence of men or the fact of applying force during the examination. They only deny pressing Kristina’s head against the floor and sprinkling the gas to her face from the gas spray, however, they describe other episodes of violence openly, as if there was nothing illegal in that”.