Today the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) passed a ruling based on a complaint submitted by lawyers of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» on behalf of Nikita Danishkin who claimed that in 2010 he was tortured by the officers of the Centre to Counter Extremism of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for the Nizhny Novgorod region. The Strasbourg judges established that the applicant was subjected to torture in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention (“prohibition of torture”), and due to that he was awarded a compensation in the amount of 20 000 euro.
As we have previously reported, on February 1, 2011 the Nizhny Novgorod branch of the Interregional Committee Against Torture received an application from Nikita Danishkin.
In his application Nikita claims that on December 25, 2010 he was detained in his rented apartment by officers of the Anti-Extremism Centre under the Directorate of the Interior for Nizhny Novgorod region and taken to the headquarters of the Anti-Extremism Centre where AEC officers beat him in order to make him confess to preparation of a terrorist attack and dissemination of information smearing the honor and dignity of AEC staff. When Danishkin, despite tortures, refused to write a confession, law enforcers brought a towing cable, made Nikita sit with crossed legs, tied his legs up with the towing-cable and handcuffed his hands behind his back.
According to Mr Danishkin, the police officers failed to obtain the confession from him and they brought him to the Temporary Isolation Cell, however, when the duty officer there saw Nikita’s numerous injuries he sent him to hospital for an examination. As a result, Mr Danishkin was diagnosed with bruises, including on his face.
On December 27, 2010 Danishkin was admitted to remand prison, where he had the following injuries documented: a red-brown bruise on the right side of the abdominal area, a yellowish-green bruise in the axillary region on the left, multiple purple bruises on the face and neck.
Danishkin complained about ill-treatment to the head of the Investigative Committee. However, no criminal case was initiated, and the pre-investigation check, in the course of which investigator Novikov five times illegally passed refusals to initiate criminal proceedings and which lasted for over one year and a half, ended in the Nizhny Novgorod regional court on 5 August 2013 where the sixth refusal was declared legal in the end.
Having exhausted all domestic remedy, on 5 February 2014 lawyers with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. On 7 April 2015 it was communicated.
After communication the pre-investigation check based on Danishkin’s complaint was resumed and the material was handed over to the first department for major cases investigation of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region. By present time seven more refusals to open a criminal case have been issued. The 8th refusal is being appealed against at the Nizhny Novgorod regional court.
Today the Strasbourg judges unanimously established the following with regard to the complaint submitted in the interests of Danishkin:
– Article 3 of the Convention was violated in its material part (the applicant was subjected to torture);
– Article 3 of the Convention was violated due to absence of efficient investigation of the applicant’s claims about having been tortured by the police officers.
Due to that Nikita Danishkin was awarded twenty thousand euro as a compensation for moral damage.
“Back in summer 2015 when the European court communicated our complaint, the material was handed over to the major cases department of the regional Investigative Directorate. At that time, we pointed out the drawbacks of the performed check, tried to achieve cooperation, but the investigation never really got off the ground: no contradictions were eliminated, no cooperation followed, and the investigator refused to check the applicant’s theory and failed to notice obvious discrepancies in the words of the “E” center officers. As a result, we have another ruling of the European Court not in favor of our state”, – commented lawyer of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Albert Kuznetsov.
“In its today’s ruling the Court pointed out that it has already reviewed a lot of complaints against Russia on brutal treatment with regards to the detained persons, which revealed a systemic issue, – lawyer with the department of international remedy Ekaterina Vanslova emphasized. – The detained who do not have the procedural status at the same time are deprived of the right to effective defense, for example, to a defense lawyer presence during the questioning, which makes their position vulnerable and allows the police officers apply illegal methods of obtaining evidence. The European Court declares the practice of questioning in lawyer’s absence to be abuse and once again requires that Russia changes the existing situation which has not been changed yet, despite numerous similar decrees”.