Today, on 22 June 2015, lawyers of the Committee Against Torture have sent an individual report in support of the rights of Semen Sbornov from Kstovo (the Nizhny Novgorod region) who reported that the police officers used torture to force him to confess.
On 22 May 2013 Semen Sbornov applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. At that time he was under investigation at pre-trial detention center SIZO-3. Semen told the human rights defenders that on 22 January 2013 he was detained in Kstovsky District of the Nizhny Novgorod region by police officers. They told Semen that he was suspected of the battery of his acquaintance who subsequently succumbed to injuries.
That is how the applicant himself described his further stay in the police department: «A police officer closed the door of the office and his colleague started to hit me with a baseball bat in the areas of feet and arms. After that they handcuffed me, tied my feet and drew a rope between them. They bent me down so that it was hard for me to breathe. At the same time they were beating me in the area of spine and kidneys, demanding to confess to the crime that I had not committed. Having yield to torture I agreed to sign the confession under dictation of the police officers».
In the course of public investigation conducted by lawyers of the Committee Against Torture some medical documents were obtained which revealed that Semen Sbornov underwent treatment in the Central Hospital of Kstovo, were he was diagnosed with head soft tissue bruises, arms bruises. A forensic expert in his report dated 5 November 2013 pointed out that Sbornov’s injuries may have been caused by blow of a hard blunt object (or objects), including arms and a baseball bat.
About ten witnesses questioned by human rights defenders and the Investigative Committee investigators mentioned Semen’s bodily injuries, however, the investigative authorities who performed the check based on the fact of these injuries did not subsequently provide any assessment of the this. Three times the investigators issued refusals to initiate criminal proceedings which were subsequently quashed based on Semen representatives’ complaints.
On 7 May 2014 the Kstovsky City Court of the Nizhny Novgorod region declared Semen Sbornov guilty of committing a crime under p.4 of Article 111 (intended infliction of severe personal injury) of the Criminal Code of Russia and sentenced him to seven years prison term.
In their report human rights defenders ask the UN Human Rights Committee to examine the case in the part of the Russian Federation violating its obligations under the articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as to recommend the necessity of prompt and thorough investigation by Russian authorities of all the torture complaints in relation to Semen Sbornov.
Lawyer of the Committee Against Torture Sergey Romanov, representing the interests of Semen Sbornov: «It is worth mentioning that the battery complaint check was conducted by the same investigator who was in charge of the criminal case in relation to Sbornov. This contradicts to the standard of objectiveness, the investigator quite obviously was not interested in investigating the torture of Sbornov, since it would put a question mark in relation to the evidence collected in the case. In our complaint we have pointed at this outrageous fact».