The period of limitations for bringing to criminal responsibility the police officers who were torturing Aleksandr Bogdanov in 2011, is expired. The investigative authorities had ten years for investigation, but it turned out to be not enough. In 2020, the European Court awarded 19 400 euro of compensation, which the Russian Federation paid to our applicant.
As we have previously reported, Aleksandr Bogdanov told human rights defenders that in October 2011 the police officers were abusing him for two days at Police Department No.3 of Orenburg. Aleksandr was beaten up and choked with a plastic bag, being forced to confess of a murder of an acquaintance of his.
“They started to decide which torture to invent for me and they came up with a “suitcase” torture. B. went to his car and fetched a towing rope of the Russian flag colors. They forced me to sit in a lotus pose with my hands cuffed from the back, tied up my legs… they twisted and tied up in such a way that I could fit in a travelling case. Then they tried to remember in which room they had a baseball bat, then they brought it in, shoved it, twisting it between the elbow joints and the back. They moved the table, so that it was on the level with the other one and they hung me on the bat between the two tables. All the body was getting numb, especially in the shoulders, I was sweating heavily, shaking my head so that the sweat does not eat my eyes away. I was shouting loudly from unbearable pain and was incriminating myself in everything”.
On the next day, Aleksandr was diagnosed with hematomas of the soft tissues, bruises, extravasations. One day later, at the court hearing of the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Orenburg, Bogdanov withdrew the evidence that he had provided under torture. Despite this, he was declared guilty and sentenced to ten and a half years of prison term.
Aleksandr applied to the Committee Against Torture from the penal colony where he was serving the sentence. Having exhausted all possible domestic remedies and having received seven dismissals of his claims to open a criminal case from 2011 to 2014, the human rights defenders applied to the ECHR.
On 4 February 2020, the Strasbourg judges acknowledged that the state violated Aleksandr Bogdanov’s rights to freedom from torture and brutal treatment, as well as the right to effective investigation. The Russian Federation paid 19 400 euros of compensation.
Having obtained the ruling of the European Court, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to court with an appeal against the last dismissal of the claim to open a criminal case dated 10 October 2017. The lawyers’ application has not yet been examined by the court.
On 22 September 2021, the period of limitations for bringing to criminal responsibility the police officers who were torturing Aleksandr Bogdanov, expired. The investigative authorities had ten years for investigation, but it turned out to be not enough.
“Starting from the beginning of 2021, it has been the fourth case, for which the period of limitation has expired, and the guilty were not punished. The Investigative Committee, which in every of the cases in its stage was folding hands and doing nothing, should be responsible for that, — lawyer with the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatullin comments on the situation. – There were tortures, which means that the crime has been committed. For us it is crucially important to ensure that effective investigation is performed by the investigative authorities, and no one else. Otherwise, the result is a strange story, where the European Court performed some work and passed a ruling in favor of the victim of tortures, and the Investigative Committee decided to spare itself a trouble”.