The Moscow applicant of the Committee Against Torture complained about the battery that never happened


18 November 2020

In February of this year Sukhrob Akramov applied to the Committee Against Torture. He reported that in January he was beaten up by the convoy officers at the Basmanny District Court of Moscow. Human rights defenders conducted a public investigation and established that the applicant told lies, at least in part of his evidence. According to the video record that could be obtained, Akramov himself hit against the bars, and not as he claimed that the convoy officers hit him twice with electrical shocker and after that – hit his head with some heavy object.

On 19 February 2020, Sukhrov Akramov applied to the Moscow branch of the Committee Against Torture. He informed that he was a defendant in the criminal case on the theft of property, examined by the Basmanny District Court. On 30 January, in the court room, during the declaring of the verdict, protesting against the absence of a translator, he started to shout and knock with his feet against the bench. After that, according to Akramov, he was beaten up with the use of electrical shocker by the convoy regiment officers.

According to Akramov, six convoy regiment officers ran in the court room and one of them hit him in the stomach with a remote electrical shocker through the bars of the cage in which he was, and the other convoy officer applied an electrical shocker-truncheon. After that, according to him, the officers opened the door to the cage and started to pull him towards the exit. He started to hang back and then one of the officers hit his head with some heavy metal object. Sukhrob said that he was brought to the convoy room where he received random hits with hands and feet, and electrical shocker was applied against him, due to that he passed out several times and then had a dead faint and an ambulance was called for him.

Only head wounds were registered by the ambulance’s medics as well as, later on, by the Pre-Trial Detention Facility Medical Station officers, where Akramov was taken from the court. The doctors indicated in the medical documents: “In the area of the head from the right and the left circular shaped hematomas are visualized, about 1.5 cm in size. Skin cover is not damaged”. They also pointed out a brain concussion. At the Pre-Trial Detention Facility Akramov was also diagnosed with a bruise of the zygomatic region on the left, a bruise of the zygomatic region on the right”.

“We cannot tell whether he had any more injuries on his body, apart from the head wounds”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Georgiy Ivanov comments. – The questioned cell mates, for example, recall that saw not only bruises on his face, but also electric marks (traces of electric shocker). However, medical documents only confirm bodily injuries of the head”.

On 6 March, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied on behalf of Sukhrob Akhramov with a crime report to the Investigative Committee.

On 8 July, based on the results of the performed expert examination review, investigator of the Investigative Department for the Central Administrative District of the Chief Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for Moscow Georgiy Mozgovoy dismissed the claim to open a criminal case due to absence of the element of crime in the actions of the convoy regiment officers.

During the public investigation with regard to Akramov’s application, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture managed to obtain several video records from the Basmanny District Court of Moscow.

One of the videos feature Akramov standing in the cage in the court room, and the convoy officers at some distance from him. At some moment, Sukhrob suddenly starts to hit his head against the bars of the cage and manages to hit himself six times. After that a police officer rans up to him who tries to keep him from doing that by holding him by his shoulders. A police officer enters the cage after him, who, lifting Akramov’s hands up, bends him towards the floor and moves him to the exit from the cage, where another police officer joins him. Akramov offers resistance and falls on his stomach, he is lifted and taken out of the court room. As it is seen, he was not hit, and no special equipment (including electrical shocker) was used against him.

“No video from the convoy premise is available and we cannot claim that illegal violence was applied against Akramov there. In theory, this is possible – for example, the convoy officers could beat him up as a punishment for the inflicted disorder. But it is also possible that no second battery took place, the same way as the battery in the court room never happened. The situation that we faced is not common in our practice, – Georgiy Ivanov comments. – However, such cases, once again, convince us that no legally significant conclusions can be drawn up based on the evidence from one of the parties only. The position of our organization is that one can claim that some fact happened or not only after all the possible evidence is collected and only if this evidence turned out to be sufficient. If there is still some doubt, we summarize that we failed to either prove or disprove the applicant’s words”.

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