The Orenburg Regional Court doubled the compensation awarded to a man for brutal battery by the police


03 September 2014

Yesterday, 2 September 2014, the Orenburg Regional Court changed the decision of the court of the first instance in the part of the size of the compensation for moral damage to Sergey Ivanov, who had been severely beaten by police officer Oleg Litvishko in March 2012. The bench of the Regional Court judges doubled this sum – for his sufferings Sergey will receive 300 thousand rubles from the state.

(Photo: Sergey Ivanov after surgery)

(Photo: Oleg Litvishko)

As we have previously reported, in March 2012 Orenburg citizen Sergey Ivanov applied to the Orenburg regional branch of the Committee Against Torture seeking help. The man told the human rights defenders that on 14 March 2012 he had been severely beaten by a policeman.  Later Sergey underwent a surgery to have his spleen removed.

On 25 March 2013 the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Orenburg city delivered a sentence against ex-policeman Oleg Litvishko. He was found guilty of criminal offenses under article 286 (3) (a) and (c) of the RF Criminal Code (exceeding official powers committed with the use of violence with the infliction of grave consequences) and sentenced to a 3-year prison term to be served in general regime (minimum security) penal colony. On 20 May 2013, the Orenburg Regional Court upheld that mild sentence. Later, the Court of Cassation (the Presidency of the Orenburg Regional Court) dismissed the human rights defenders’ appeal against the decision.

After Oleg Litvishko’s conviction had entered into force, lawyers working with the Committee Against Torture, who represent Sergey Ivanov’s interests, filed a compensation claim on his behalf. On 12 May 2014 the Leninskiy District Court partly sustained the victim’s request, and awarded him 150 thousand rubles in compensation for moral damage. The plaintiff asked the court for more than 3 million rubles. Human rights defenders with the Committee Against Torture believed the compensation to be disproportionate to the grave damage and to be inconsistent with the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. They appealed against the decision.

In the course of its examination the human rights defenders provided the court with compelling arguments for increasing the sum of compensation. Thus, according to the forensic medical report, Ivanov was subjected to «grave bodily injuries with hazard to life, manifested in a blunt abdominal trauma with spleen rupture (with its subsequent removal), accompanied by haemorrhage from the branchelet of a short ventricular artery, …fracture of the ninth rib from the left,  abrasion in the area of the left eye». Apart from that the lawyers of the Committee Against Torture, in particular, referred to the opinion of the Supreme Court of RF about the necessity to comply with the international standards and to take into account the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, providing several examples from its practice with a lot larger sums of compensation awarded in similar cases.

«Of course, 300 thousand rubles of compensation is also not a great reassurance for a person who was subjected to experience that Sergey had – for a grave damage to health, for several hours of insupportable pain, for fear for his life, for emotional stress about his wife and a kid who could have been left without the breadwinner, all in all, for tortures and humiliation by law-enforcement officers who have to protect citizens from crime…  And indeed, how to measure all the pain of physical and moral sufferings? – the Head of the Orenburg regional branch of the Interregional NGO «Committee Against Torture» Timur Rakhmatulin  comments on the decision of the regional court. – However the positive news is that the Orenburg Regional Court doubled the size of compensation awarded by the district court, bringing us at least a little closer to European standards in this respect».

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