The Prosecutor's Office compelled the Investigative Committee to check the circumstances of the death of a teenage boy in a Nizhny Novgorod school once again


01 March 2016

The Prosecutor’s Office of the Sergachskiy District of the Nizhny Novgorod region has quashed the refusal to initiate criminal proceedings with regards to the death of Sako Solakian from the local school as a result of a fight in the educational institution. The supervisory authority presented its ruling to lawyers of the Committee for Prevention of Torture, representing the interests of Anna Gyurdzhinyan, the mother of the deceased, in the course of judicial proceedings in relation to the human rights defenders’ complaint against the investigator’s refusal.

(Anna Gyurdzhinyan)

On 1 October 2013 Anna Gyurdzhinyan applied to Niznhy Novgorod regional branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance and told the human rights defenders her sad story. On 20 February 2012 she received a call from local school No.3 where her son Sako Solakian studied in 9th grade. She was told that her son was urgently taken to the Sergachsky Central District Hospital intensive care unit. Unfortunately, despite the emergency surgery, the teenager died the next day. Later the circumstances of the accident were revealed: it turned out that her son lost his consciousness as a result of a fight with the 11th grade pupil.

Believing that not only the second party in the fight was to blame for the death of her son (on 10 April 2014 he was sentenced to 3 years prison term), but also the school staff who failed to prevent the tragedy, Anna Gyurdzhinyan decided on seeking help of human rights defenders. The Committee Against Torture lawyers conducted a public investigation which established the violation of the applicant’s rights by the state in the part of ensuring health and safety of her son who was studying in Sergachsky school No.3.

As a result, on 16 July 2014, the Sergachsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod region awarded 100 000 RUB to Anna Gyurdzhinyan, in compensation for moral damages inflicted by the staff of Sergachsky school No.3 who neglected their duty of ensuring the safe environment for the pupils.

Despite this court decision the culprits are not identified to this day. On 31 March of last year investigator of the Sergachskiy Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region Mr.Ignatyev issued refusal to initiate criminal proceedings in relation to the death of Sako Solakian. Human rights defenders appealed against this refusal at the District Court, which declared the investigator’s ruling to be legal. However, challenging this ruling on appeal bore some fruit – the regional court passed a judgment stating that the human rights defenders’ complaint is sent back to the court of the first instance for examination.

In the course of new court examination of the Committee for Prevention of Torture lawyers’ complaint the Prosecutor’s Office representative presented human rights defenders with a ruling quashing the refusal of the Investigative Committee’s investigators.

Acting Prosecutor of the Sergachskiy District Tatyana Mastyugina established that the ruling under appeal is unlawful and is subject to reversal.

«The circumstances of S.K.Solakian’s death, described in the ruling, do not comply with the circumstances established in the verdict of the Sergashskiy District Court as of 10 April 2014. Apart from that, the investigator’s ruling does not contain evaluation of school No.3 director N.N.Katorgina actions in terms of timeliness of rendering medical assistance to S.K.Solakian after infliction of bodily harm», – it is said in the Prosecutor’s ruling.

With this regard in the course of pre-investigative check Tatyana Mastyugina demanded from the investigator to rectify the indicated discrepancies. In order for this to be done the school’s director, teachers, paramedic and the ambulance staff have to be questioned with regard to timeliness of rendering medical assistance to Sako Solakian, as well as to establish the time of the call for the ambulance.

Lawyer of INGO «The Committee for Prevention of Torture» Sergey Shounin, representing the interests of Anna Gyurdzhinyan: «Once again we are facing the situation when the Prosecutor’s Office changes its stance with regard to discrepancies revealed as a result of the check. Initially the Sergachskaya District Prosecutor’s Office dismissed our complaint in relation to legality of refusal to initiate criminal proceedings. The Prosecutor’s Office held the same view during the examination by the District Court where we applied with complaint against the investigator’s actions. And only after the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court sent the complaint back to the court of the first instance for new examination, the Prosecutor’s Office view turned out to be completely opposite. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened in our practice, which is why we intend to bring the attention of the superiors of the Nizhny Novgorod regional Prosecutor’s Office to inconsistence of its officers’ stance while ensuring the citizens’ rights. On the other hand, we hope that all the discrepancies that were revealed by the Prosecutor’s Office will be taken into account during additional pre-investigative check, based on which the objective ruling will be passed».

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