The Prosecutor's Office of the Mary El Republic asks not to interfere


15 October 2015

(Photo: Sergey Smol’kin)

Not so long ago we praised the Prosecutor’s Office of the Mary El Republic, pointing out the positive trend, developing in the supervisory agency regarding human rights. It’s either we were too hasty with such complacent conclusions, or not all the officers of the regional Prosecutor’s Office are on the same page in relation to human rights. 

In September of this year lawyers of the regional branch of INGO «The Committee for Prevention of Torture» in the Republic of Mary El filed an application to the regional Prosecutor’s Office regarding holding the Yurinsky District Prosecutor’s Office official liable for undue performance of his direct duties. However, this application was dismissed on the grounds that our request was «a direct interference with the competence of the Prosecutor’s Office and it cannot be considered» – that was the decision of the Mary El Republic Prosecutor’s Office Criminally-Remedial and Operational-Investigative Activity Supervision Department Head Nadezhda Molodetskaya.

The application to the regional Prosecutor’s Office was caused by the inaction of the Prosecutor of the Yurinsky District of the Mary El Republic who failed to express his initiative for timely reversing the unlawful refusal of the Investigative Committee investigators to initiate criminal proceedings based on Sergey Smol’kin’s application.

As we have previously reported, Sergey Smol’kin from Yurino settlement applied to human rights defenders in March of this year reporting of torture in the Kozmodemyanskiy Police Department No.6 of Intermunicipal Department of the Ministry of Interior of the RF. As Sergey told the human rights defenders, on 26 February of this year he was called in for questioning as a witness to Police Department No.6. However, the questioning started in a rather unexpected manner – one of the men in civilian clothes present in the department reported straight away that Sergey had beaten up a man and had taken a ring from him and he had better confess of everything, since the officer was from the «sixth department, and crushed the stronger than your ilk».

According to Sergey, when he refused to confess of crime, two men entered the room and moved from words to deeds: they put him on his hunkers, having handcuffed his hands behind his back and tied his feet with a towing line, and then they started to press on his knees. When Sergey felt a cramp in his feet he started screaming but people present in the room just increased the volume of the music to stifle his shouts. Sergey sat in this position for about three hours. Continuing with tortures the police officers threatened the witness whom they summoned for questioning, saying that he had no idea what he got into and that they were going to rape him and record this on video, plant drugs on him.

As Sergey recalls, having broken down under torture he was forced to write the confession to the dictation of the officers. After that the defense lawyer who was hired by Smol’kin’s mother and the senior assistant of the Yurinsky District Prosecutor came over to the police department. The lawyer demanded that the police officers immediately called for the ambulance. Medical workers who arrived at the scene registered that Sergey had hypertensic crisis and cuts on the wrists from handcuffs. After some time he was released from the police department and had to apply to the hospital due to pain in his feet.

Based on Sergey Smol’kin’s complaint human rights defenders initiated their own public investigation, as well as filed a crime report on behalf of the applicant to the Kozmodemyanskiy Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Republic of Mary El.

For six months the investigator issued two refusals to initiate criminal proceedings. The first illegal ruling was reversed only after human rights defenders lodged a complaint with the Regional Prosecutor’s Office, since the District Prosecutor’s Office dismissed this complaint.

Due to that the lawyers of the Committee for Prevention of Torture filed an application to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Mary El Republic requesting to conduct a check and reveal the causes that prevented the Yurinsky Prosecutor’s Office officials from timely performing their duties with regard to accomplishment of the Prosecutor’s supervision measures and, in case of identifying a guilty party, make a decision on subjecting it to disciplinary action.

«This application was dismissed. It is unclear why a complaint to a superior Prosecutor’s Office asking to bring the obviously guilty officers of the subordinate Prosecutor’s Office to responsibility is considered to be «interference with the competence of the Prosecutor’s Office» – lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Danila Chendemerov wonders. – «We shall definitely appeal against this answer, and mainly, its motivation, with the Prosecutor of the Mary El Republic. In addition, the last refusal to initiate criminal proceedings, in our opinion, is also illegal, and we shall appeal against in the nearest future».

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