"The refusal to initiate criminal proceedings is lawful - in fact, it is 83 pages long"

Событие | Пресс центр

30 March 2016

That was the argument from representative of the Investigative Committee Mikhail Veloturov in the course of the Babushkinsky District Court of Moscow’s examination of the complaint of the Committee for Prevention of Torture against the refusal to initiate criminal proceedings in relation to the death of musician Sergey Pestov. Despite all the arguments of human rights defenders, representing the interests of widow Irina Pestova, who consider the issued refusal to be illegal, judge Aleksey Gloukhov dismissed their complaint, using even a more logical argument: «investigator’s refusal to initiate criminal proceedings is legal and justified, because in the course of the conducted check it was established that actions of the officers of the Department of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for Dubna urban district of the Moscow region did not involve illegal actions and essential elements of offence». Human rights defenders will definitely appeal against this ruling of the District Court.

(Irina Pestova near the building of the Babushkinskiy District Court of Moscow)

As we have previosuly reported, on 10 September 2015 Irina Pestova from Dubna, Moscow region, applied to INGO «The Committee for Prevention of Torture» for legal assistance. She told the human rights defenders that on 4 September the police officers apprehended her husband Sergey Pestov and a few other people in his garage and took them to the local police department. At night everyone, except for Sergey, was released, and in the morning the ambulance took Sergey from the police department in the state of coma. Almost immediately after he was delivered to medical institution he died.
 
Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Moscow region conducted a check of this case. A suspicion in the quality of the conducted check appeared when the investigator distanced himself from the widow of the victim as much as he could, as well as from human rights defenders from the Committee for Prevention of Torture, who represented her interests. In the course of three months virtually no information on the check’s progress was available. Complaints and personal meetings with the Investigative Committee’s superiors did not produce any result either.
 
«Only in the end of December 2015, after more than 3 months since the start of the check, we were able to get access to the medical documents. By the way, we still have not seen the full scope of the documents of the check. It turned out that in the course of the corpse examination two bruises on the face, eight extravasations on shoulders and lower arms were found. Forensic medical examiner came to the conclusion that the death was a result of «atherosclerotic heart disease, complicated by the decompensation of the chronic cardiac failure» and that «the actual death is not determined by the caused bodily injuries», – lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Dmitry Piskounov comments. – However, at the same time the investigation did not even take trouble to explain what caused these injuries. Maybe, brutal treatment of Pestov provoked the complication of his heart condition, and the police officers failed to undertake appropriate measures to save the life of the detained (which should be called negligence at the very least)? How can we speak about a quality of the check if to this day no expert examination of Pestov’s clothes and a piece of fabric was assigned (according to witnesses’ statements, clothes were stained with Pestov’s blood)?

In addition, a strange theory emerged in the course of the check, stating that Pestov complained of being tired during the night interrogation, and the police officers, tempering justice with mercy, allegedly decided to let him go. At the same time, according to documentation, Pestov was suspected of drug sales, and it would be logical to suppose that he would be sent for the night to the temporary containment cell, and not home.

However, as it appears from the explanations of the police officers, they agreed with Sergey that he would show up early in the morning in order for the interrogation to be continued. In the register log of the detained persons it is stated that Pestov left the police department building at 2.42 a.m. The criminal investigator, who interrogated Pestov, stated that Pestov left at 4.20 a.m. In their turn, the officers who were at the duty station that night, saw neither how Pestov left the building or how he returned in the morning. At the same time that night neither Pestov’s wife nor other relatives or friends of his received any calls or messages from Sergey. These are apparent discrepancies which for some reason did not surprise the investigation».

«Based on the above we cannot agree that the conducted pre-investigative check was of good quality and was timely and effective, and the investigator’s ruling was lawful. In this respect we cannot consider the dismissal by the Babushkinskiy District Court of our complaint to be lawful either, that is why we are going to challenge this ruling on appeal», – Piskounov summarized.