The Nizhny Novgorod police fails to apologize for tortures again


13 November 2017

For more than five months the superiors of the Nizhny Novgorod police have been failing to offer apologies to Aleksandr Dmitriyev, whose spine was broken in spring 2011 by Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov, investigating officers of Police Department No.7 of the Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for Nizhny Novgorod. As a result, lawyers of the Committee Against Torture, representing the interests of Dmitriyev, applied to court. Since the superiors of the Nizhny Nvgorod police systematically violates the federal law in the part of bringing the apologies to the victims, human rights defenders also intend to apply to Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev.

(Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov in court)

As we have previously reported, on 30 May 2017, the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court upheld the verdict of Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov. Previously, on 2 March of this year they were declared guilty of committing the crime under items “a, b” of part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“exceeding official authority using violence and special equipment”), and convicted to five years of jail time each.

As it was established by the court of the first instance, on 6 March 2011 Aleksandr Dmitriyev was unlawfully seized from his apartment by the police officers and taken to Police Department No 7 on suspicion of theft. On the next day, the Sovetsky district magistrate court which examined the charge of resistance to authority brought against Dmitriyev relieved him from administrative responsibility for the lack of offense.

Despite the court decision, the policemen forcibly took Aleksandr to their department, and forced him to give false statements against himself and his acquaintance, which read that they had stolen some building implements. The officers Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov were beating him and used the method of torture known as «envelope» (victim’s hands are twisted behind the back and handcuffed, legs are tied together and with the hands so that the victim is «folded» like an envelope). During this «interrogation» officer Sokolov set on his victim’s back – and the latter felt sharp pain in the lumbar area.

However, Mr Dmitriyev’s sufferings were not over even after signing the confession statement. It appeared that the man who he had been forced to bear false witness against had alibi. Sokolov and Volkov resumed the severe beating, after that Aleksandr gave new statements that he had committed the theft alone.

Next day, on March 8, Aleksandr was free to go home. This was two days after his apprehension. He called an ambulance, and was immediately admitted to hospital.

Later Aleksandr Dmitriyev was examined by forensic medical experts. According to their report, on admission to hospital no. 39 the man had the following injuries: simple compression fracture of the first lumbar vertebrae, lumbar contusion (tenderness of the spinous processes, muscle tension, restriction of movement), brain concussion, wrist abrasions. Now, Aleksandr is a disabled person of group II.

On 13 April 2011, criminal proceedings were initiated following Aleksandr’s ill-treatment complaint, but on 6 October 2011 the case was closed on the grounds that no crime had been committed. However, thanks to the efforts of lawyers of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, who appealed against the illegal actions of the investigator and attracted media attention, on 10 May 2012 the case was resumed and transferred to the first department of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region.

As a result, on 23 January 2014 the Sovetskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod pronounced the sentence for two former police officers Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov. They were found guilty and sentenced to 5 years in standard regime penal colony. Their defense team was not satisfied with the court decision and on 4 March 2015 the judicial board quashed the ruling of the court of the first instance. The convicts, who spent over a year in the detention center, were released in the court room, and their measure of restraint was changed to the house imprisonment, and the case was sent back for re-examination to the district court.

However, the re-examination of this criminal case also ended with a judgment of conviction. Today judge of the Sovetskiy Court of Nizhny Novgorod Olga Kolyagina declared Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov guilty of crime under items “a, b” Part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence and special equipment”). The defendants were sentenced to 5 years of prison term in the standard regime penal colony. Both were taken into custody in the court room.

The convicts were not satisfied with the judgment of conviction and appealed against it at the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court, however, it upheld the ruling of the court of the first instance and dismissed the complaints of the convicts. The verdict entered into legal force.

On 10 August, Aleksandr Dmitriyev, having grown tired of waiting for the police officers to apologize and using the assistance of his representatives at the Committee Against Torture, applied to Acting Head of the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region Brigadier General Grigory Tkachenko requesting to bring apologies.

“In a week Grigory Tkachenko gave order to Head of the Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior for the Nizhny Novgorod Vladislav Pronin to provide the compliance with regulations in the part of bringing the apologies to Aleksandr Dmitriyev for illegal actions of the former police officers, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Babinets, representing the interests of Aleksandr Dmitriyev, comments. – However, almost three months passed and this request has never been fulfilled. Neither Dmitriyev nor his representatives received any letter with apologies. That is why we applied to court”.

(Vladislav Pronin, photo:

Federal law “On Police” and departmental order No.795 dated August 15, 2012 oblige to bring the apologies to a citizen whose rights and freedoms were violated by a police officer. And it must be done in the shortest time possible, but not later than one month after the court verdict entered into force. However, this obligation is systematically violated by the Niznhy Novgorod police. For example, only this year the police superiors failed to bring apologies regarding any of the three cases of the Committee Against torture, which had grounds for that.

“Unfortunately, the Nizhny Novgorod already developed an unacceptable and humiliating practice when torture victims have to literally beg for apologies for these tortures, – Babinets emphasizes. – Not once in our practice the superiors of the guilty police officers offered their apologies to torture victims at their own initiative and in the timeframe established by the law. That is why, apart from the court, we intend to apply to Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev. We hope that he intervenes and reminds the Nizhny Novgorod law-enforcement force on the necessity to observe the law “On Police”.

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