The Regional court of Nizhny Novgorod will examine the complaint of two former policemen convicted for torture


12 November 2014

On 13 November 2014 at 10 a.m. the Regional Court of Nizhny Novgorod will examine an appellate complaint of former police officers with Police Department no. 7, Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov. The convicted do not agree with the verdict of the court of the first instance, according to which they were found guilty under Article 286 (3) (a), (b) of Russian Criminal Code (exceeding official powers with use of violence and special equipment) and sentenced to 5 years in general regime (minimum security) penal colony.

(Photo: Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov)

We would like to remind you of the circumstances of the case in examination. On 6 March 2011 Aleksandr Dmitriyev was unlawfully apprehended by the police officers in his own apartment and taken to Police Department no. 7 on suspicion of theft, which he, as it was revealed later, did not commit. After his «conversation» with the criminal investigation department officers Dmitriyev signed a confession statement.  Vertebral fracture and inpatient admission became  other sad results of «enhanced interrogation» of Aleksandr.  

According to Dmitriyev, who applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance, the policemen were beating him and used the method of torture known as «envelope» (victim’s hands are twisted behind the back and handcuffed, legs are tied together and with the hands so that the victim is «folded» like an envelope). 

On 13 April 2011 criminal proceedings were initiated following Aleksandr’s ill-treatment complaint, but on 6 October 2011 the case was closed on the grounds that no crime had been committed. However, due to the efforts of the Committee Against Torture which called the media attention to this case, on 10 May 2012 the case was reopened and transferred to the first department of the Nizhny Novgorod region Investigative Committee Investigative Department.       

As a result on 23 January 2014 the Sovetskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod pronounced the guilty verdict for two former police officers with Police Department no. 7 Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov and convicted them to five years prison term.   

Their defense team was not satisfied with the court decision and filed an appellate complaint against it. 

«I would like to remind you that the policemen decided to maintain silence in the court of the first instance, using Article 51 of the Constitution. However, during the pre-trial investigation they were trying to convince the investigative authorities that Dmitriyev agreed to sign a confession statement after talking to them, and then, overcome with sudden unexplained impulse, tried to flee from the police department, but tripped over at the staircase and had a bad fall, – tells the head of the department of investigations of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Nizhny Novgorod branch Dmitry Utukin, who represents the interests of the victim. – However we’ve got the expert examination 111 of the Centre of Expertise under the Ministry of Defense Center of the Russian Federation, which disproves the version of the policemen, since there were no necessary conditions for such injury. Expert examination is attached to our counter-arguments to the complaints of the convicted». 

According to Utukin, there is other objective data speaking in favor of the defense team: for example, Aleksandr Dmitriyev lie detector evaluation which confirmed the credibility of his words. At the same time the policemen quite predictably refused to undergo this procedure.
«The policemen’s arguments boil down to claiming that they were faithfully performing their duty and Dmitriyev had been earlier convicted for theft. That’s why, in their view, the court should trust them and not him. – Utukin continues. – But I would like to point out that criminal charges of Dmitriyev for theft in which he allegedly confessed of his own free will were dropped.  Moreover, the court established that Dmitriyev was illegally detained and kept for more than one day in the police department without any grounds whatsoever. Our lawyers have collected the compensation for moral damage from the state for this detention. We are convinced that the guilty verdict which has been delivered by judge Maria Lazareva is just and hope that the appeals instance shall affirm it, after which the victim would be able to receive an adequate compensation for moral and material damage».

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