The Investigative Committee will still have to investigate death of a convict in Mari El penal colony

Событие | Пресс центр

21 August 2013

The Higher Court of the Mari El Republic obliged local investigators to carry out their direct duties. Today, on 21 August 2013, it upheld the earlier decision of the first instance court which found that the failure to act of the Acting Deputy Head of Medvedevsk inter-district Investigating Department of the Investigative Committee for the Mari El Republic, Ms. S. Pirogova, basing on death of a convict was unlawful, and ordered the investigative body do rectify the violation.

(Photo: Valeriy Shadevskiy)

We remind you that on 16 May 2013 Valentin Shadevskiy, applied to the Mari El regional branch of the Committee Against Torture seeking legal assistance. His brother Valeriy died in the medical unit of Penal Colony no. 3 (FKU IK-3 UFSIN) of RF for the Republic of Mari El. According to the applicant, in June 2012 Valeriy talking over the phone with his mother complained of strong abdominal pain. Ultrasonography revealed chronic gastritis. In November 2012 Valeriy underwent surgery, but the pain remained.

In 2013, at the end of the winter, Valentin learned from his mother that his brother complained of a change in the size and shape of his liver and permanent abdominal pain; his skin was turning yellow. The man also complained about poor medical treatment he was receiving from the medical personnel of the Federal Penitentiary Service. On 1 April 2013 Valeriy’s relatives received a telegram informing them about his death in the Colony hospital. According to the telegram, his death was caused by stomach cancer with internal hemorrhage.

Following Valentin Shadevskiy’s application, the Committee Against Torture initiated a public investigation. Within the investigation lawyers of the Committee filed a criminal complaint with the Medvedevsk inter-district Investigating Department of the Investigative Committee for Mari El. They reported a crime committed by regional officials of the Federal Penitentiary Service. The human rights defenders discovered evidence of criminal offenses under Article 124 (failure to render aid to a sick person) and Article 293 (neglect of duty) of Russian Criminal Code.

On 11 June 2013 the Acting Deputy Head of the Medvedevsk Investigating Department Ms. S. Pirogova decided that there could be nothing better than to transfer the complaint to the Federal Penitentiary Service which the complaint was filed against. In violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure she suggested internal functional audit within the Service, instead of conducting preliminary check in compliance with the relevant criminal procedure. The human rights defenders appealed against the official’s actions before court.

On 5 June 2013 the Medvedevsk district court of the Mari El Republic in its judgment found that the failure to act of the Acting Deputy Head of Medvedevsk inter-district  Investigating Department of the Investigative Committee for the Mari El Republic, Ms. S. Pirogova, basing on the death of a convict was unlawful, and ordered the investigative body do rectify the violation. The court noted that “the decision of 11 June 2013 made by the Deputy Head doesn’t comply with the Law on Criminal Procedure”. The court also found it necessary to order the Head of the investigative body to rectify the violations, which means to examine the criminal complaint as it is provided for by the Criminal Code of Russia. It must be mentioned that the Deputy Prosecutor for Medvedevsk district of the Mari El Republic, Mr. V. Polyakov, agreed in the first instance court with the submissions of the Committee Against Torture lawyers.

Nevertheless, the Head of the Medvedevsk inter-district  Investigating Department of the Investigative Committee, Mr. A. Krylov, maintaining his unlawful position, appealed against the decision of the Medvedevsk district court before the Higher Court of the Mari El Republic. This time representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office endorsed the Investigative Committee’s opinion, but the court took the side of the human rights defenders.

“For more than two months the investigative body, instead of examining the criminal complaint as it is required by the law, was doing nothing concerning the incident, and then started spending its time and effort on protecting its failure to act before court”, says a lawyer with the regional branch of the Committee Against Torture in Mari El Dmitriy Yalikov, “Time has been lost, the necessary investigative activities have not been carried out. Of course, we will apply to the Head of the regional Investigative Committee and request disciplinary punishment for the senior staff of the Investigative Department. Moreover, in the nearest future we will file a request with the investigative body in charge of the case to include in its preliminary check investigative activities necessary to establish the circumstances of Valeriy Shadevskiy’s death”.