Representative of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Krasnodar Territory Daniil Melnikov informed the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture that the dismissal of the criminal case on tortures of four citizens from Anapa at the local police department was legal. Human rights defenders strongly disagree with this and will be insisting on resumption of the case.
As we have previously reported, in May 2017, Artem Ponomarchuk, Aram Arustamyan, Karen and Erik Engoyan, citizens from Anapa, applied to human rights defenders for legal assistance. The men reported that they were apprehended at various time in the period from 24-25 December 2015 – allegedly, all four of them refused to show their IDs. Later on, the protocols on administrative violation were drawn up with regard to all the apprehended persons, and on 26 December judge of the Anapa City Court Elena Kravtsova convicted everyone to 12 days of administrative arrest.
– Right after I was delivered to the police department the battery started, and then they started to apply electricity to my hands, and when I refused to confess of armed assault they put a stick in my rectum, – Artem Ponomarchuk describes.
Karen Engoyan tells about similar tortures: “The police officers handcuffed me, put me face down on the floor, put on the gas mask on me, periodically blocking the air access. They beat me at my heels, applied electric contacts to my hands, feet, buttocks, demanding that I confessed of armed assault. When I fainted, they dripped some liquid in my gas mask which made me regain consciousness. The police officers threatened me with a sexual violence with the use of an object looking like a stick. After that I yielded and signed the confession”.
Aram Arustamyan and Erik Engoyan provided similar explanations. As a result, all the apprehended persons confessed of armed assault.
Local forensic expert Emanuil Kopp registered various bodily injuries on all the four apprehended, including injuries on the bodies of Karen Engoyan and Artem Ponomarchuk, “which possibly became the result of the electricity impact”.
The Investigative Committee, which authority involves investigation of criminal cases with regard to the police officers, had not opened the criminal case based on the fact of torture for almost two years. Only in November 2017, after the victims’ relatives together with lawyers with the Committee Against Torture had a personal appointment with a Deputy Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia Boris Karnaukhov, and complained against the red tape of local investigators, the criminal case was opened.
Investigation of the case was assigned to another investigator, four applicants were declared victims, and lawyers with the Committee Against Torture were accepted in the case as their representatives.
For fifteen months of the investigation not a single suspect appeared in the case, and the work of the investigators since the start of the tortures complaints’ check have repeatedly declared inefficient by the Prosecutor’s Office and the superior instances of the Investigative Committee.
On 23 February 2019, the investigation of the criminal case was suspended and on 1 March it was dismissed altogether due to absence of the element of crime.
By passing such a ruling, investigator Stain treated the evidence of the victims and some witnesses, as well as the results of Emmanuil Kopp’s medical forensic examination critically, since, according to the investigator, all of these people were interested parties.
After the dismissal of the criminal case, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the regional prosecutor’s office requesting to inform of the results of the prosecutor’s check of the legality of the issued ruling.
Today, human rights defenders received the answer from head of department for monitoring the investigation, supervision and law enforcement intelligence-gathering activities of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Krasnodar Territory Daniil Melnikov that there are no grounds to quash the ruling on dismissal of the criminal case.
“We strongly disagree with this opinion of Mr Melnikov, and, after familiarization with the materials, we will insist on quashing investigator Stain’s ruling on dismissal of the criminal case and resumption of the investigation”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Roman Veretennikov emphasized.