Today, on 24 December 2020, the Orenburg Regional Court upheld the ruling of the District Court on awarding Mushfig Guliyev three hundred and fifty thousand rubles as a compensation for moral damage related to unfounded charges of murder of the Orenburg entrepreneur and his underage son. Despite the fact that Mushfig and two more former defendants in the case complained of having been tortured when forced to provide the required testimony, the criminal case has not been opened until now. The Committee Against Torture’s lawyers will appeal against the court ruling in the part of the awarded compensation.
As we have previously reported, on 1 June 2018, Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov from Abdulino town applied to the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. The men reported that on 7 March 2018 they were apprehended one by one by the police officers, who, without explaining the reasons, delivered them to Orenburg to the building of the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Orenburg region, located at address: Dubitskogo St., 2.
There, according to the applicants, the police officers tortured them, demanding that they confessed of murder of the entrepreneur from Orenburg and his underage son. Later on, at Pre-trial Detention Facility, Mushfig Shykhaliyev wrote a full confession. According to him, he wrote it after one of the members of administrative staff made a hint to him that he might be raped if he persisted.
However, on 17 March 2018, Shykhaliyev and Shakhmarov were released from custody due to the absence of the evidence of their guilt – the alibi, which they initially reported, was confirmed: at the time of the murder of the businessman and his son they were in Bashkiria, busy with purchasing some meat.
In the end of July 2019, the third person, involved in this case, former defendant Mushfig Guliyev, applied to the Committee Against Torture. He told human rights defenders that he was forced to bear false witness against Shykhaliyev and Shakhmarov with regard to the murder of the entrepreneur from Orenburg and his underage son.
Two months after the apprehension he was also released from custody – his alibi was confirmed by numerous witnesses. However, he was transferred from the Pre-Trial Detention Facility to the special agency for temporary detention of foreign citizens, because while he was in custody, the period when he was authorized for temporary stay on the territory of Russia, expired. Having become a hostage of the developed situation, he was forced to wait for ten more months to be forcefully deported from Russia, until criminal prosecution against him was not stopped.
Mushfig resolved upon turning to human rights defenders only after he had left the territory of Russia.
On 6 June 2018, human rights defenders applied to the Investigative Committee on behalf of Shakhmarov and Shykhaliev with a report on tortures applied against them. On 29 June, the criminal case with regard to the fact of abuse of office was opened, however, as early as on 2 July this ruling was quashed by the Prosecutor’s office.
Starting from 3 July 2018, the investigators of the Third Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF based in Nizhny Novgorod started checking the torture complaint. By the present time, the investigators issued three rulings refusing to initiate criminal proceedings.
In February 2020, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture ensured that the checking related to these torture complaints is resumed, but this time – at the special department of the Investigative Committee dedicated to law-enforcement officers’ crimes.
By the present time, the investigators have already issued ten rulings dismissing the claim to open a criminal case. The latest of the claims dated 12 October 2020. During familiarization with the materials of the check, the investigators made the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture sign a gagging order.
In May 2020, human rights defenders applied to the court on behalf of Mushfig Guliyev with a lawsuit on compensation of moral damage inflicted to him by illegal criminal prosecution.
In order to substantiate the lawsuit, human rights defenders provided procedural documents to court, confirming that Guliyev groundlessly spent almost a year in custody, as well as a conclusion of a psychologist who confirmed the presence of signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Guliyev evaluated the moral damage inflicted by an illegal criminal prosecution at three and a half million rubles.
On 15 September 2020, the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg passed a ruling to collect three hundred and fifty thousand rubles from the Ministry of Finance of Russia for the benefit of Mushfig Guliyev as a compensation for moral damage.
Having disagreed with a size of the awarded compensation, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to court with a request to satisfy the lawsuit in full scope. Representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee asked to uphold the ruling of the first instance.
Today, the panel of judges of the Orenburg Regional Court chaired by Elena Kravtseva upheld the ruling of the court of the first instance.
“We shall be appealing against this court ruling, because we disagree with the amount of the awarded compensation. It cannot be called fair and adequate, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments. – In addition, we shall continue to insist on opening a criminal case on tortures”.
As we have previously reported, on 12 May 2020, the Orenburg Regional Court upheld the ruling of the district court on awarding one hundred thousand rubles to Ramin Shakhmarov as a compensation for moral damage related to ungrounded suspicion of murder of the entrepreneur from Orenburg and his underage son.