Convicts Sergey Pavlov and Rinat Arslambayev
Today, on 17 June 2021, judge of the Saraktashsky District Court of the Orenburg region Marat Asfandiyarov passed a ruling with regard to two former police officers Sergey Pavlov and Rinat Arslambayev who were charged with torturing brothers Valiko Baygulov and Roman Chikviladze. The first defendant was sentenced to three and a half years of jail time, the second – to two years with serving the sentence in the standard security penal colony. As we have previously reported, in August 2019, district officer Pavlov hit the brothers with electric shocker in the area of the genitals demanding that they confessed of theft of five thousand rubles, and district officer Arslambayev helped his colleague by holding the chair on which one of the apprehended was sitting.
On 15 August 2019, 21-year old Roman Chikviladze from Cherniy Otrog railroad station of the Saraktashskiy District of the Orenburg region applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance.
According to Roman, on 10 August, his 82-year old father accused him and his half-brother Valiko of stealing five thousand rubles. The brothers tried to free themselves from an accusation and reported that they did not take the money from their father. Then the father called the police. The police officer arrived in about fifteen minutes, roughly at 10 p.m., and suggested that Roman went with him. Roman agreed, and the police officer took him to Chernootrozhskiy rural council.
“The police officer asked me whether I took the money. I told him I did not. Then he called his colleague and let him talk to me. He also asked whether I took the money, I replied that I did not. Then he said he would come now from Saraktash and would sort this out”, – Roman says.
Chikviladze remembers that the second police officer came to the rural council at about midnight. He brought a belt and an electric shocker.
“This police officer asked me took the money. I answered that I did not know and that I did not take them. He said: “Well, if you don’t want a good way, it will be a bad way. We will torture you!” I grew scared, said “Can we do without it?”, and he answered: “There is no other way” and led me to the rural council assembly hall”, – Roman continues.
In his explanations, Chikviladze described tortures in the following way: “When I sat on a chair, the police officer pulled the belt underneath the chair seat and fixed my feet with it tight in such a way that the buckle was in the area of my thighs. The police officer repeated the question once again: “Where did you get the money?”, I told him I did not take the money. Then he hit me with electric shocker’s discharge in the groin area which inflicted unbearable pain”.
According to Roman, the torture lasted for about half an hour: in total, he received about five electric shocker discharges. After some time, the police officers brought his brother, Valiko. According to Roman, the police officers also tied him up to a chair and demanded that he confessed of stealing the money, applying electric shocker. But Valiko also refused to bear false testimony against oneself.
In fear of further pressure and tortures, Roman agreed to take the blame on himself and write a full confession. Only after that the two men were released home.
Roman went to live with his uncle in the neighboring village and for several days he was afraid to get out.
Only on 14 August he made up his mind to go to a doctor and went to the Saraktashskiy District Hospital. After the examination the doctor immediately reported the detected injuries of Roman to the police.
“Immediately the very same police officer who hit me with electric shocker came to the hospital and took away the medical documents that I received, – Roman describes. – After that he asked if I smoked, I replied negatively, and then he bought two cake cheeses for me and gave me a lift home”.
After Chikviladze applied to the Committee Against Torture, human rights defenders helped him to register the bodily injuries on the same day at the Bureau of Forensic Medical expert examination in Orenburg.
According to the certificate of the forensic medical examination conducted on 15 August, Roman Chikviladze was diagnosed with bodily injuries in the form of “electric markings in the area of both thighs, external sex organs, which may have been generated as a result of repeated impact of electricity”.
On the same day Chikviladze applied to a combustiologist, who diagnosed him with the following: “Electrical shock. Electric trauma of 1st degree. Electrical markings on both thighs and external sex organs”.
On 16 August, human rights defenders submitted a crime report to the Saraktashskiy Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Orenburg region.
On 16 September, head of this department Artem Fedyakov passed a ruling on initiating criminal proceedings with regard to the crime committed against Roman Chikviladze under items “a”, “b” of Part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence and special equipment”).
On 23 September, Valiko Baygulov also applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. That is how he recalls what happened on that night at the rural assembly hall: “A police officer hit me twice with electric shocker in the groin area in the presence of his colleague and Roma, and the colleague did not even attempt to stop him, but only kept asking where we put the five thousand rubles that we took from father. I said I did not take the money, but, apparently, they were not satisfied with my answer. When Roma was taken to the room in front, me and the district officer remained alone, and once again he hit me with electric shocker and once again I screamed from unbearable pain, but I did not bear false witness against myself”.
On 24 September 2019, senior district investigative officer of the Cherny Otrog settlement of the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Saraktashsky District Sergey Pavlov was apprehended under suspicion of having committed the afore mentioned crimes and taken to the temporary detention facility. Later on the charges were brought against him.
On 23 June 2020, investigator Dmitry Gryazev produced charges against the second police officer – district police officer of the Department of the Interior for the Saraktashsky District Rinat Arslambayev, with regard to committing the crime under part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“abuse of office using violence”). According to the investigative authorities, Rinat Arslambayev was involved in Roman Chikviladze’s tortures by holding the chair on which the latter was sitting, trying to dodge Pavlov’s blows.
On 27 August, the Saraktashsky District Court of the Orenburg region started examination of this case.
In the course of the court hearing, defendants Sergey Pavlov and Rinat Arslambayev did not acknowledge their guilt and asked to acquit them. Today, State Prosecutor Kirill Sorokaletov deemed the guilt of the defendants in the incriminated crime to be proven and requested to sentence Sergey Pavlov to five years and Rinat Arslambayev to three and a half years of prison term. Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova, representing the interests of the victims, asked the court to sentence the defendants to real jail time as well as strip them off their special ranks of “police major” and “police captain” as persons who discredited the Ministry of the Interior of Russia.
Today, judge of the Saraktashsky District Court of the Orenburg region Marat Asfandiyarov passed a ruling. Sergey Palvov and Rinat Arslambayev were declared guilty of the charged crime and sentenced to three and a half and two years’ prison term with serving the sentence in a general security penal colony, accordingly. Both convicts were also stripped of the special ranks.
“The trial was rather long and complicated but it is not related to the complexity of the case. The evidential base confirming the defendants’ guilt was considerable and convincing, but defendant Sergey Pavlov and his defense lawyer took all possible efforts to hamper the trial, trying to discredit the judge and put pressure on him, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments. – The court faced a complicated task in this situation: to remain objective and fair. In our opinion, despite all difficulties, the judge remained impartial and passed a fair verdict. As to the terms of sentence, we consider them to be too mild for such a crime, and after we find out the victims’ opinion, we shall decide whether we will appeal against the verdict in this part, or not”.