The police beat a street cleaner from Chelyabinsk with an axe


13 November 2007

The Committee against Torture publishes a torture story from the Urals which was kindly submitted to us by the paper “Chelyabinsky rabochiy”.


Maria Karasyova is nearly 80, this is a skinny heartsome old lady with a clear mind and good memory. She is speaking about the events of that tragic morning that split their life in “before” and “after” as if it happened the previous day, not more than a month ago.

–    My son and me finished cleaning our territory and I went home. He needed to take a box to the trash bin. When I was crossing the street I saw two men running as fast as they could and a police car rushing after them. I could not even think that that would touch my son somehow. An hour passed, the another one, two, five, he is not coming home.  The he finally came, but in such a state that I burst into tears. Blood is streaming down his face, the face is beaten, one eye is just big black spot, the clothes are torn. “The cops beat me”, he said.

An extract from Vladimir Karasyov’s interview at the investigation department of the Mettalurgichesky district Prosecutor’s office.

“… when I was going to the trash can, someone shouted to me something in bad language, I did not stop, I thought it was some drunken passer-by… the man got irritated and using curse words asked me why I was running away, when he came closer I saw that he was dressed in police uniform”. When the policeman saw the street-cleaners tool, “a metal axe with a wooden grip” (Vladimir uses it to scrub away chewing gums at a bus station- Author’s remark ), he said that it was a crime instrument and that Karasyov himself was a maniac. “After that the police officer struck him with an axe upon the right shin.”

Then the policeman took him to the police car, Karasyov remembers the car number -668. At the car there was another officer and they started beating the street cleaner together, they used the axe again and even hit him on the head once. Later the started discussing whether they should take him to the police station, the conversation was either in Tartar on in Bashkir, so Karasyov did not understand it clearly. One of the policemen claimed again that Karasyov was a maniac and they could not let him go. He was thrust in the police car and taken to the police station of the Metallurgichesky district police department. There were people in uniform there, some were even senior officers, judging by the number of stars on their shoulder straps, but they did not care at all who was detained, why the person was battered and made to “clean cells and other rooms”. Apart from the cells he was forced to clean an office, corridor and a garage.

An extract from Karasyov’s statement:

–    “While I was doing the cleaning the drunken policemen were entertaining themselves: they hit, kicked me, threatened to start a criminal case and use their weapon against me. They tore my jacket and were constantly saying that it was a pity that they could not shoot me during the arrest.” Really, they failed to do so.

Street cleaner Karasyov, an intelligent person who used to be a trade-union activist and had to change the profession because of disability knew very well how people who tried to stand up against people with shoulder straps could be punished. And he endured everything.

– I tolerated it, said Karasyov, because I was afraid for my life. At 5 in the morning the policemen could beat me to death both in the street and at the police station. And no one would find out the truth because there were no witnesses.

Finally, when they soothed their temper, they had to let him go, and the street cleaner went to hospital #6 of Metallurgichesky district. There the fact of battery was documented and the doctor asked the police officer on duty what a victim should do in such a situation. According to KArasyov’s words, “the police officer on duty said that he did not know anything and went out of the room”.

Although he got no help from the police officer, the street cleaner submitted a claim to the Prosecutor’s office. Investigators conducted a check and found out the following: The immediate reaction group consisting of police officers V.Kovalchuk, S.Lyzhin, K.Spirin, V.Kuzovkin detained no one at bus-stop “Obschezhititiye”, where the maniac was hunted for, battered no one and made no one clean the police station. The investigators even took a look at the fingerprints register “Papilon”, where all people taken to the police station are registered, but Karasyov’s presence there was not tracked down. However, the investigators revealed the following: it turned out that Karasyov’s neighbour claimed that the street cleaner was not quite sane and that he had many times had fights with local bums had been beaten. For these reasons the Prosecutor’s office concluded that Karasyov’s complaint was not grounded.  There is no corpus delicti and the event itself.

–          If I’m lying, why don’t they prosecute me for defamation?  And why would I smear our police?

The Karasyovs no longer clean the streets, due to their unhappy experience they are afraid for their life. It’s very easy for the police, Vladimir says, to stage a street fight in response to my attempts to find out the truth and punish me this way. The street cleaner is always to be found in the morning in the yard. That is why he quit. Apart from various law enforcement agencies, he also applied to State Duma deputy, head of Russian Civil movement “Civil society” Alexey Sevastyanov. We asked Mr. Sevastyanov if there is a chance for him to get reparation or he has come to a deadend.

–    Not at all – says the deputy- The fact that the city prosecutor’s office submits the claim back to the regional prosecutor’s office, that is to the body against which the complaint is brought is an evidence of the infringement of the Federal law “On citizen’s applications” and of biased attitude. There is no crime without traces, there only should be a thorough investigation. In this case, I suppose, it was not done. The check was based only on the evidence given by the policemen themselves and on the data entered into the registration system by the same policemen. But it is possible to track the police car route, fuel consumption, to find direct and indirect evidences, actually, it’s not me who should tell you about that. I think that the Special Department of the DPD of Chelyabinsk region and the Regional prosecutor’s office where I’m going to send the protest should know better how to check their staff to abuse of powers. The fact that Karasyov is insane< as the investigators want to put it, is not an obstacle for finding the criminals. There was a case in Satki, four police officers battered a woman, she was an alcoholic, but anyway they were prosecuted.

Irina Gundareva,

“Chelyabinsky rabochiy”

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