The Prosecutor’s Office of Krasnodar declared illegal the ruling of the Investigative Committee’s investigator who dismissed a claim to open a criminal case against the police officers whom local resident Evgeny Lastin accused of applying illegal violence against him during apprehension, as well as of the fact that they were beating him off demanding that he confessed of razor sets’ theft. According to the police officers, they did not subjected Mr Lastin to any physical or psychological pressure, and, allegedly, he was trying to abscond, as a result, he was apprehended with the use of handcuffs. However, the video record obtained by the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, disproves the explanations of the police officers.
On 8 December 2020, Evgeny Lastin from Krasnodar applied for legal assistance to the Committee Against Torture. He told human rights defenders that he placed an advertisement at Avito website about selling the razor set. On 30 October 2020, he agreed to meet a person named Denis who wanted to buy this set. According to Lastin, in the evening of the same day he met Denis at the entrance hall of his house, where he was detained by police officers.
“An officer kicked me at the front side of my feet below the knee, due to that I collapsed at the porch floor on my knees, having hit myself painfully. I felt pain in areas of impact, on both feet and knees, and a lot below the knees, and in the areas of impact bruises and extravasations were generating. I was on my knees, with my body bent to the ground, since the police officer held me by the hair and was pushing my head to the ground. He pulled my arms behind my back and handcuffed them, having very strongly compressed them on my wrists”, – Lastin explained.
Then, according to Evgeny, the police officers took him inside the car and one of the officers started to hit him at the head, face and chest. After that he was taken to the Krasnodar police department situated in the Oktyabrskaya street.
There, according to Evgeny, the police officers started to beat him up, demanding that he confessed on having committed a theft.
“As soon as we entered the office room, the officer demanded that I went down to my knees. When I did that, he hit me with his fist in the chest area near the heart. I felt pain in the area of the impact. After this hit I fell on the floor, on my right side. The officer pressed on my left shoulder in such a way that my chest became compressed and it was hard to breathe. After some time, I felt some tension in the facial area and felt beating in the left temple. During this they did not demand anything from me. A lieutenant came and looked at my face and showed to the officer with a gesture, shaking the palm of his hand, that it was enough. After that the officer held my shirt at the top part of the back and started to drag along the floor, I was in contact with the floor mainly with the right side of my body. Because of that I had two bruises on my right thigh. At that time, the lieutenant was kicking at various parts of my body, and pinched me with toe-cap of his shoe in my face when it was near the ground. There were no strong blows. Then they started to demand that I confessed of the razor sets’ theft. I denied my involvement. This lasted for about 15 minutes”, – Evgeny recalls.
Mr Lastin spent the whole night at the police department, and a protocol on administrative violation under part 1 of Article 19.3 of the Criminal and Administrative Code of the Russian Federation was issued with regard to him (“failure to comply with a legal order or demand of a police officer”). On the next day, 31 October, the court issued a fine with regard to this offence.
After the court hearing, according to Evgeny, the police officers went with him to the apartment, in which he resided, and inspected the place of incident there. After that, according to Lastin, they returned to the police department, where he wrote full confession as it was dictated to him, confessing of razor sets’ theft from the shop, and after that he was released.
In the evening of the same day, Evgeny applied to the first aid station of the City Clinical Hospital No.3 of Krasnodar where the doctors diagnosed him with “a contusion, hypodermic hematomas of both forearms, both lower thighs”. And on 3 November, medical forensic expert of the bureau of forensic medicine from Krasnodar pointed out in his conclusion that Mr Lastin was inflicted “bodily injuries in the form of extravasations in the facial area, extravasations in the body area, upper and lower limbs, bruises in the area of the right lower limb”.
On 9 November, a criminal case was opened with regard to Evgeny Lastin under part 1 of Article 158 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“theft”). At the present time, travel restrictions are applied against him.
On 9 December, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report on behalf of Lastin.
On 9 January 2021, Senior Investigator with the Investigative Department for the Western District of Krasnodar with the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Krasnodar Territory Georgiy Kashoida dismissed the claim to open a criminal case with regard to the police officers due to absence of the element of crime in their actions. The investigator deemed that Lastin was casting aspersions on the criminal police officers to avoid criminal responsivity. At the same time, the investigator did not explain the presence of bodily injuries on the person who was kept at the police department.
During the check, the investigator questioned the police officer who apprehended Evgeny. According to this police officer, he “came up to Lastin E.V., introduced himself and explained that they had information that the latter performed a theft of razor sets and that he had to come to the police department for questioning with the regard to the check. Lastin E.V. started to express his indignation and told that he did not take any razor sets and then attempted to flee, but was detained, after that special equipment in the form of handcuffs was applied to him”.
Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture managed to obtain a video record of Evgeny Lastin’s apprehension, which disproves this version of the police officers: it is seen from the video that Lastin did not attempt to flee, but was brought down with a kick by a police officer in civilian clothes.
As it became known later, the material of the check of the fact of applying physical force by a police officer during Lastin’s apprehension was transferred to the Investigative Department with the Prikubansky District of Krasnodar of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Krasnodar Territory.
On 21 March of this year, investigator of this department Danil Bondarev also dismissed the claim to open a criminal case due to absence of the element of crime in the actions of the police officers. That is the conclusion that the investigator came to after the police officers’ explanations that hitting Lastin was based on the necessity to prevent his escape – allegedly, Lastin warned the law-enforcement officers about this intention of his aloud.
Today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture received a response from the Prosecutor’s Office to their application, in which it is stated that on 14 April the ruling of investigator Bondarev to dismiss a claim to open a criminal case was declared illegal and quashed, and the material of the check is submitted to head of the Investigative Department for the Prikubansky District of Krasnodar for organizing an additional check.
“We did not expect any other ruling from the Prosecutor’s Office but the dismissal. The thing is that we are dealing with the case when the investigator blindly trusts the police officers’ version of events, even though it is disproved by the video record of the apprehension, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Roman Veretennikov, representing the interests of Evgeny Lastin, comments. – We still insist that the criminal case is opened and we will try to ensure that the investigative authorities do that”.