The Prosecutor’s Office changed its opinion with regard to the attack against Igor Kalyapin in Grozny


28 August 2017

The Prosecutor’s Office of the Leninsky District of Grozny declared the eighth refusal to initiate criminal case based on the fact of the attack against Igor Kalyapin in March of last year near the hotel in the center of the Chechen capital to be legal. Prior to that the Prosecutor’s Office quashed the refusals six times as illegal and pointed at the necessity of conducting a number of specific checking activities – despite the fact that many of them were never conducted, for some reason this time the district Prosecutor’s Office was satisfied. This ruling has been appealed to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Chechen Republic.

As we have previously reported, on 16 March of last year a group of young people attacked Igor Kalyapin at the entrance of the Grozny City hotel: the attackers threw eggs, flour, cake and hit Mr Kalyapin several times, shouting slogans condemning the human rights defender’s activity, including the accusations of protecting the terrorists.

According to Kalyapin, prior to the attack he was banished from the hotel by the man who introduced himself as its general director.

– The director told me that since I was criticizing the Head of Chechnya and the Chechen police, and he was very fond of Ramzan Akhmatovich, I had to leave the hotel, – Igor Kalyapin  wrote on his page.

On the same evening, Igor Kalyapin submitted a complaint about the attack to the police dispatch center of the Department of the Interior for Grozny. In ten days, on 26 March 2016, the first refusal to initiate criminal proceedings was issued – the police investigators deemed that the accident happened to Kalyapin lacked the event of crime. By the present moment seven more refusals were issued, latest of them is dated 14 January of this year.

All refusals of the police investigators, except for the last one, were quashed at the Prosecutor’s Office of the Leninsky District of Grozny. And each time the Prosecutor’s deputies pointed out at the necessity of the following checking activities:

– seize the electronic log of Grozny-City hotel guests and question all the lodgers who were residing at it at the moment;

– question the journalists who were together with Igor Kalyapin during the attack;

– question the police officers who were guarding Grozny-City hotel that evening;

– identify the man who introduced as the hotel director in the audio record and banished Kalyapin;

– identify and question the hotel employees who were present during the incident;

– identify and question the attackers, and several more activities.

The investigators did none of that, however, they issued the eighth refusal to initiate criminal proceedings. The representatives of the Ministry of the Interior think that the considered incident lacks the element of crime, which is qualified as “Hooliganism”, performance of which by an organized group, according to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, presupposes prison term of up to seven years. According to the police investigators, this attack should be qualified at a petty crime (administrative offense, which is punished by a fine of up to 1 thousand rubles or by administrative arrest of up to 15 days).

The Prosecutor’s Office, which for a long time disagreed to this conclusion of the police officers, suddenly supported this ruling of the investigators, despite their failure to perform the Prosecutor’s Office’s requests, and dismissed the complaint against the last refusal. The Prosecutor of the Leninsky District of Grozny in his response indicated that the materials of the check are reviewed at the district Prosecutor’s Office and its arguments have no influence on qualification of the incident from the criminal point of view.

«Either the Prosecutor does not care about the fact that the investigators obviously ignore the requests of his deputies, or he intentionally allows it, in any case, we see negligence with regard to one’s professional duties, – lawyer with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Albert Kuznetsov comments. – In our practice, there have been no cases when the Prosecutor agrees to the conclusions of the police investigators or investigators with the Investigative Committee of Russia, when they failed to fulfill his requests. There should be serious reasons for that, which are not present in this case. The scope of activities conducted for a year since the time of the attack, leaves a lot to be desired: most of the witnesses are not questioned, the attackers are not identified. In our opinion, the Prosecutor, together with the investigative authorities of the Ministry of the Interior, decided not to take any actions to solve this crime. We cannot agree to that. We wrote about this changing stance of the District Prosecutor’s Office in a complaint which we submitted to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office”.

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