In the Krasnodar Territory, the investigators on major cases refused to open criminal cases concerning three complaints about tortures at the District Police Department: they issued dismissals repeating word for word the previous rulings of the district investigators which had already been declared illegal. As we have previously reported, according to two applicants, they were beaten up and boiling water was poured on them at the police department, and the third applicant claimed that the police officers were hitting her head with a thick book, empty plastic bottle for water dispenser and threatened that they would find drugs at her son’s place.
In June 2019, residents of the Kurganinsky District of the Krasnodar Territory – married couple Olga Shvetsova and Valery Malakhov applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. They informed human rights defenders that the police officers of the Gulkevichsky Police Department beat them up in April 2018, while forcing them to sign a confession of murder of an old woman who used to dwell next door to them.
According to the applicants, on 14 April 2018, the investigative officers brought them from their home to the Gulkevichsky Police Department. There, according to Ms Shvetsova, the police officers intentionally smoked inside the office, which led to her suffocating, since she has asthma condition. They also hit her head with a thick book, hit her body with their hands, twisted her handcuffed arms, threatened that they will find drugs at her son’s place.
That’s what Valery Malakhov told about his stay at the police department: “I was told I should write a confession, and if I confess I’d get six years, and if not – fifteen. After I refused, some of the officers came up behind me and started to pour boiling water onto me: he poured on the top of my head, the water was flowing on the back of my head. It hurt a lot, and the police officers commented: “We are going to skin you alive now, you’ll be like Fantomas”.
The medical forensic examination report stated: “Valery Malakhov was incurred damage in the form of a thermal burn with a hot liquid of the occipital region and the neck of I and II degree of 1% of the surface of the body, an extravasation of the right thigh, which was generated from impact force of a solid blunt object”.
On the next day the married couple was released.
However, on 19 April, Olga Shevtsova was taken to the local police department again. There, according to her, the police officers beat her up again, forcing to confess: “The investigative officer took a big empty plastic bottle for a dispenser and started to hit me with it – my head, shoulders, my back. He made three or four blows, I started to dodge, the police officer said if I dodge, he’ll handcuff me”.
Olga Shvetsova was taken in custody twice: on 21 April 2018 and on 2 July 2019. In the first case she was never charged and 10 days later she was released. And on 2 July 2019, she was detained, she was charged with murder.
Later on, on 25 December 2019, she was found guilty of this crime and convicted to seven years of prison term.
According to Shvetsova, on 2 July she was taken to the Temporary Detention Cell of the Kurganinsky District, where the criminal investigations officers came to her (she does not know their names). They forced her to confess of murder, threatening that in case she refuses her son would be brought to criminal responsibility. On 6 July, during the night, having yielded to pressure, she signed the confession as it was dictated by the police officer. On 18 July, in the presence of his lawyer, Olga informed the investigator about the pressure exerted upon her by the police officers, and she withdrew her confessionary statements.
After the incident, Olga and Valery submitted applications to the Prosecutor’s Office and the territorial Department of Federal Security Service, who, in their turn, readdressed these applications to the Gulkevichsky Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Krasnodar Territory.
During the pre-investigative check the investigators of this department issued five rulings refusing to initiate criminal proceedings. All these rulings were appealed against by lawyers with the Committee Against Torture and were subsequently quashed as illegal.
In July 2019, resident of the Gulkevichsky District Artem Danilov applied to the Committee Against Torture. He informed that on 16 May 2019, the investigative officers beat him up, forcing to confess of incurring grave bodily harm to his cohabitant, which led to her death.
“They told me: “Come on, tell us how it happened”. I was standing next to the cupboard, I started to describe, they kept interrupting me, telling me I was lying. When I was standing next to the cupboard, the three of them started to hit my body… They made me lie on the floor, and started to hit my thighs. The police officer who was on the right, ordered that boiling water is poured on me. I asked them not to do it. But they started to pour hot water on the neck and both lower thighs. Before that they raised the trouser legs of my jeans. I did not see who exactly did it. It hurt a lot, I was in fear, terror, I started to tremble”, – that’s how Artem Danilov described his tortures.
As a result, Mr Danilov sighed a confession. At the present time he is charged with inflicting a grave bodily harm to his cohabitant, which resulted in her death. On 23 November 2020, the jury of the Gulkevichsky District Court declared Artem Danilov not guilty in the charged crime and he was released in the court room.
According to the expert examination, Artem Danilov was diagnosed with the following bodily injuries: “Bruises of lateral surfaces of the rib cage, back surface of the right thigh, and external surface of the left thigh in the state of resorption (dispersion)”.
With regard to Artem Danilov torture complaint, investigators with the Investigative Committee Viktor Melnichenko and Aleksandr Evenko issued eight refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, which were subsequently quashed as illegal.
On 13 July 2020, in the course of a personal appointment, lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Anna Kotsareva applied to Head of Chief Investigative Department for the North Caucasus Federal District with the Investigative Committee of the RF Ruslan Khadzhimusov with a statement about the red tape committed during the check of these torture complaints at the Department of the Interior for the Gulkevichskiy District.
One month later, human rights defenders received a response to this application from Deputy Head of the First Department of the Procedural Control of the Monitoring and Criminal Investigations Department with the Chief Investigative Department with the North Caucasus Federal District with the Investigative Committee of the RF Denis Demryukov, in which it is stated that these three applications concerning police torture were transferred for proceedings to the first department for major cases investigation with the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Krasnodar Territory.
Today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received notifications that on 18 November 2020 dismissals of the claims to open a criminal case were issued for all the three applications.
“Unfortunately, transferring the materials of the check to the territorial level did not change anything: investigators of major cases Vitaly Berendeyev and Aleksey Melikhov simply issued dismissals of the claims to open criminal cases which repeat word for word the previous dismissals of the district investigators, – lawyer with the Krasnodar branch of the Committee Against Torture Anna Kotsareva comments. – We shall be insisting to bring all the who are guilty of red tape to responsibility and will continue to insist on opening criminal cases about tortures”.