The Ombudsman of Nizhegorodskaya region, Vasily Olnev once again protects policemen, accused of torture


18 February 2013

This time the Ombudsman of Nizhegorodskaya region advocated Vladimir Samsonov, the former chief officer of PD №1 of Avtozavodsky district of Nizhny Novgorod, who is accused along with four of his subordinates of torturing the detained. On February 14, 2013 the Ombudsman asked the court to change the measure of restraint for the accused from custody to home arrest.

(The photo shows Vasily Olnev, photo taken by Natalia Yermakova)

We should mention, this is not the first time Mr. Olnev protects the policemen accused of felony. Thus he conducted the defense of Aleksey Zhuravlev, the police captain who in 2010 with his colleague Andrey Ladin beat severely a citizen of Nizhny Novgorod Stanislav Lebedev, whereupon Stanislav’s kidney was removed. However, despite this fact the court took a reasonable and impartial decision – Zhuravlev and Ladin were found guilty in the crimes they had been charged with and got real terms of detainment.

It is recalled that on January 16, 2013 Vladimir Samsonov was taken into custody until February 23, 2013. However on February 14, 2013 it became known  that the court had changed the measure of restraint to home arrest.

“Samsonov’s brothers and sisters resorted to me, his niece and daughter came to my private reception, – Mr. Olnev informed the RIA”Vremya N(Time N)”, – whereupon I carefully studied all the case materials, went into detail and was puzzled: why and how could they put him into isolation ward? The grounds for taking him into custody weren’t corroborated. The prosecution just spoke of the number of blows stricken, but didn’t give any evidence. It seems, that the judge flinched facing a representative of an authoritative investigating body who was advancing his arguments ».

It is not clear though, what materials exactly the Ombudsman studied, because before the verdict is announced the data collected in the course of the preliminary investigation is a secret protected by law. The Ombudsman doesn’t have the right to demand the documents.

The “restraint and underground” nature of the court session on appeal proceedings on the complaint of the measure of restraint for the accused also sets wondering. Nor the investigator, interceding for taking lieutenant colonel Samsonov into custody, neither the victims were informed of place and time of the court session. As a rule, the appeal and cassation cases are tried on Tuesday or Friday, if not for expiring term of detainment. The term of Vladimir Samsonov was to expire on February 23, 2013. It is not clear why did the district court take the decision on Thursday and in such a hurry.

The vice-chairman of IRPO «”Committee against torture” Olga Sadovskaya comments on the situation: «As it is clear from the definition and the mandate the Ombudsman is to protect human rights. I don’t understand where the violation of rights of Mr. Samsonov took place? He didn’t complain of poor housing conditions or maltreatment in the isolation ward, which was actually confirmed by the Ombudsman. At the same time I see a clear violation of the right of the victims for the fair trial, as they were not even informed of the appeal proceeding on the complaint. Perhaps their position could influence the decision. We should note the strange position of the Ombudsman of Nizhegorodskaya region. In the lifetime of the Committee against torture, despite multiple requests, he didn’t advocate any of our applicants, but once again was present in person at the court session on the part of the policemen accused in torture. In our view, Mr. Olnev not only refused to protect the injured citizens, but on the contrary – used his state powers and did what he could to help a person, accused of violation of human rights. That is acted not to the good, but against the goals and objectives of the human rights defenders».

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