Today the Orenburg regional court has delivered a very ambiguous decision. It has tried the cassation appeal against the decision of the Orsk court under Evgeny Svintakov’s suit. You may remember that in 2003 Evgeny Svintakov was serving his sentence in a penal colony in Novotroitsk, Orenburg region, where he was cruelly beaten by colony officers, as a result of which he became disabled of 1st degree. The criminal case on the allegations of police abuse has been investigated for 6 years already, but, though Evgeny immediately gave the names of his tormentors and identified them during a confrontation, investigators have failed to find those to be indicted and suspended the investigation. Having lost hope to restore his rights with the help of the investigative authority, Svintakov decided to seek justice with the Russian judiciary and lodged a suit for compensation of moral damage inflicted by omissions of the colony staff. The Oktyabrsky district court of Orsk chaired by judge Kolobova dismissed the suit on the grounds that the plaintiff had failed to provide evidence of state agents’ guilt.
The regional court’s decision is both happy and unhappy. Three judges headed by rapporteur Cherdyntseva have quashed the decision of the Oktyabrsky district court of Orsk Оand delivered a new judgment – this time they have sustained the claim, which happens extremely rarely and only when such conclusion is obvious. But at the same time it has decreased the compensation amount from the claimed sum of 2 million rubles to 50 thousand. Such compensation cannot be considered just, either under Russian law, or according to the ECtHR case law. We would like to note that one of Nizhny Novgorod courts awarded more that 3 million rubles to Mr. Sankin who had become disabled of 2nd degree. Under the well-known Mikheyev’s case the European Court awarded Alexey Mikheyev 8.5 million rubles.
Svintakov’s application is pending trial in the ECtHR. It could have been withdrawn, if the domestic court had awarded him adequate compensation. Alas, the Orenburg regional court has deprived Russia of a chance to escape another embarrassing judgment in Europe.