The Supreme Court of the Republic of Mari-El by its decision of 10 September 2007 upheld the sentence of 12 July 2007 passed on policeman Sergey Pchelnikov. On 12 July 2007 the Yoshkar-Ola City Court of the Republic of Mari-El had sentenced criminal investigation officer of the Central Police Station of Yoshkar-Ola City Sergey Pchelnikov for the crime as set forth under Article 286 §3 pp. “a”, “б” (Abuse of official powers committed with the use of physical force and special devices) to 3 years and 6 months’ imprisonment in a minimum security colony.
In December 2004 two then minor boys Andrey Aplekaev and Denis Darovskikh applied to the Yoshkar-Ola Human Rights NGO Man and Law and told experts of the NGO that the night before they had been unlawfully detained by policemen in one of the city’s disco clubs. After the detention they were brought to the Central Police Station of Yoshkar-Ola City where criminal investigation officer Pchelnikov violently beat them.
In the framework of a team project of the NGO Man and Law, NN Committee Against Torture and Public Verdict Foundation, experts of the department of public investigations of the NGO Man and Law began checking the information. The inflicted injuries were immediately documented and witnesses to the incident questioned. The gathered material together with a report about the incident was forwarded to the prosecution service.
Later, experts of the NGO had to overcome difficulties which the prosecution service tried to make. Three times it unlawfully adopted decisions of refusal to open a criminal case. All the decisions were reversed following the decisions of the court.
It took human rights defenders one year to make the prosecution service open a criminal case, and almost three years to hear a verdict of guilty passed. Throughout this time the policeman that is now found guilty of a serious crime wielded official power and exercised the discharge of duty.
The policeman pleaded guilty before the court and repented having done all this. The court took it into account when it was passing the verdict.
We think that the Yoshkar-Ola City Prosecutor’s Office must have also begged the victims pardon. During two years prosecution officials openly sabotaged the investigation mocking at Russian laws and the victims’ rights and tried to do their best for the criminal to escape punishment. Unfortunately, the victims did not hear their pardon.