Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Petr Khromov and victim Mikhail Faito
On 14 July 2020, the ruling of the court of the first instance on dismissal of the administrative case concerning the article on violation of the rules of participation in a mass event with regard to Mikhail Faito who was apprehended during the protest rallies in Moscow in summer 2019 entered into legal force. The case is dismissed due to absence of the element of crime, as the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture who were defending Faito, demanded.
As we have previously reported, five people applied for legal assistance to the Committee Against Torture. According to them, in summer 2019 during protest rallies in Moscow they were subjected to illegal violence by law-enforcement officers.
One of the victims, Mikhail Faito, reported that on 3 August 2019 he was apprehended by the Rosgvardiya officers at the mass event and put inside a van. Subsequently, he was transferred to the van under the police officers control. Mikhail informed that he was beaten up in the territory of the Department of the Interior for the Pechatniki District when he came out of the police van because he started to pose questions and challenge the legality of the police officers’ actions. That is how he describes the incident: “The bus was parked with its cabin facing the concrete fence, I was brought to this gap between the bus and the fence and made me stand stretching, placing my hands on the fence and spreading my feet widely. I informed the police officers that a search requires attesting witnesses, but they did not respond to my words in any way. After the second remark the police officers started to hit my body. The hits were made with fists in the area of kidneys and ribs, in total about five hits were made, I lost count due to pain. I also received a hit from the back, at the right side just above the kidneys. After this hit I could not breath, I did not have air, I croaked. I felt a strong pulsation in my temples and how my body gets limp. If they had not hold me then, I would have fallen at that moment. I was very frightened; I was afraid they might kill me. This was increased by the memories of their brutal discussions of how they were beating people up. After that, a bit left from the bus, they knocked me down on the pavement, I fell my face down on my left arm. One of the officers was pulling my body and hair, trying to move me away. The second officer was trying to sit on me in the lumbar area. At the same time, my head was also pressed against the pavement. I felt pain in the left side of my face, my shoulders, ankles and stomach. It hurt practically everywhere, as the police officers were pulling me along the asphalt pavement. After that they handcuffed me and pulled me up upwards sharply using handcuffs”.
The ambulance medics and traumatologist diagnosed Mikhail with: “Ligamentous injury of I-st finger of the left hand. Contusion of the left radiocarpal joint. Bruise of the face, body, limbs”.
With regard to the incident the crime report was submitted to the Investigative Committee of Russia. However, no pre-investigative check followed. Despite the requirements of the law and departmental instructions, the Investigative Committee central office officers registered the crime report as citizens’ application (concerning to which no pre-investigative check is required) and submitted it to the inferior agency – Chief Investigative Department for Moscow. From there it was forwarded to other agencies: Chief Department of the Ministry of the Interior of Moscow and the Department of Internal Security of Rosgvardiya for Moscow, i.e., exactly to the agencies the officers of which are accused of the crime by the applicant. From there Faito received notifications that the superiors of these agencies do not detect any violations in the actions of the officers of the Ministry of the Interior and Rosgvardiya.
In September 2019, Mikhail Faito was subjected to administrative responsibility for having participated in the protest rally. Judge of the Lyublinsky District Court Vladimir Kuznetsov declared Mr Faito guilty of having committed the administrative offence, having indicated that Mikhail’s actions contain an element of crime under part 5 Article 20.2 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation, since he, having been a participant of the public event, violated the established procedure of the gathering, meeting or rally. The court established that M.A.Faito was informed about the illegality of the above-mentioned “public event”. The court assigned Faito with a punishment in the form of a fine in the amount of fifteen thousand roubles.
On 2 December 2019, this ruling was quashed by the Moscow City Court due to “significant violation of the procedural requirements which did not allow examining the case objectively and in its entirety”, and the case was submitted for new examination.
During new examination the court heard the opinion of the defense about the forging of the protocol of administrative violation, which contained in the materials of the case and about guiltlessness of Mikhail Faito. In the reasons for judgment of the ruling of the Lyublinsky District Court dated 26 June 2020 judge Elena Buluchevskaya pointed out the following: “The materials of the case contain some unreconciled controversies which indicate that the guilt of M.A.Faito was not affirmed during the court proceedings. In addition, the fact of drawing up a protocol on administrative violation with regard to M.A.Faito under part 5 Article 20.2 of the Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation”.
Today, the ruling of the Lyublyansky District Court entered into legal force.
“We are satisfied that the court heard our arguments and intended to protect Mikhail’s rights, even if it took almost one year of intense work. For Moscow this is a rare occasion for cases related to involvement in rallies, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Petr Khromov, representing Faito’s interests, comments. – I hope that now, when the illegality of our applicant’s apprehension directly follows from the court ruling, the Investigative Committee, will take steps for checking the application on illegal apprehension of physical force against him by the police officers”.
As we have previously reported, on 15 June 2020, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights in the interests of the participants of the protest rallies, including Mikhail Faito.