The police and human rights defenders reach an agreement?


27 March 2012

On March 27 in the press-centre of AiF Nizhny Novgorod (newspaper) there was a press-conference devoted to the initiative of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Directorate of the Interior which has decided to partially revive sobering-up stations in the region. The participants were Deputy Head of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Directorate of the Interior Ernest Mikulin, Deputy Chief Doctor of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Narcological Dispensary Valery Vostryakov, Chairman of INGO “Committee Against Torture” Igor Kalyapin and his deputy Olga Sadovskaya.

The press-conference was opened by Ernest Mikulin who said that after sobering-up stations were eliminated from the Interior Ministry system, his Directorate initiated a series of discussions with the Ministry of Healthcare which lead to publication of a joint decree on interaction. “At present, with the support of the Nizhny Novgorod region’s Governor, we have reached an agreement with the Ministry of Healthcare regarding creation of an emergency care department with 20 beds on the basis of the city Narcological Hospital”, Mikulin said. He added that it would serve to accommodate individuals “in coma or with somatic pathologies”.  

Valery Vostryakov noted that for a long time sobering-up stations had had an “in-between” status as institutions with medical and law enforcement functions, and also maintained that such facilities were absolutely necessary, since they were providing emergency medical and social assistance.

Igor Kalyapin started his speech by refuting the rumour that the CAT had initiated liquidation of sobering-up stations. According to him, it was the idea of the Interior Ministry. “ThatwasnotourproposalThe Committee Against Torture has consistently maintained that individuals in a state of alcoholic or narcotic intoxication need medical assistance in the first place”, the human rights defender said.  

Further Igor Kalyapin reminded journalists about 14 confirmed crime reports about unlawful actions of the police at sobering-up stations which had been lodged with the Committee Against Torture, about Mr. Anoshin’s murder by workers of the Sovietsky district sobering-up station in Nizhny Novgorod for which four law enforcers had been prosecuted, about Mr. Stryomina’s rape and ill-treatment at the Arzamas sobering-up station. “We have three more established cases of deaths at sobering-up stations which the Investigative Committee has not qualified as crimes, but nevertheless, these people died because they were not promptly provided proper medical assistance”, Kalyapin added.

He also emphasized that specialized medical facilities granting medical aid to intoxicated individuals were certainly necessary, and possible violent conduct of patients should be suppressed by male nurses, like in mental hospitals.

In his turn, Ernest Mikulin once more time confirmed that those specialized facilities would be purely medical, and the police would only bring people there. Moreover, in response to Igor Kalyapin’s suggestion that the police should take individuals in high spirits home which would help the police to win back public trust, Ernest Mikulin said that such option was possible, at least, within the same district.

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