Today the criminal division of the Nizhny Novgorod regional curt has quashed the verdict as too lenient.
You may remember that police officers Zhuravlyov and Ladin who had beaten 19-year old detainee Lebedev into losing his kidney were found guilty under cl. “а”, p.3, art.286 of the RF Criminal Code (abuse of office with violent treatment); officer Ladin was also convicted under cl. “c”, p.3, art.286 of the RF Criminal Code (abuse of office with violent treatment causing grave consequences).
The Avtozavodsky district court of Nizhny Novgorod sentenced captain Zhuravlyov to 3 years of imprisonment and warrant officer Ladin – to 5 years, the sentence was suspended with an arrest of judgment and disqualification from holding a public office. Having listened to the parties (the defendants asked the court to uphold the verdict, the prosecution and the Committee Against Torture urged the court to quash it), the judicial division sustained the cassation appeal of the prosecution and victim’s representative. The verdict was acknowledged too lenient and cancelled, the case was submitted for retrial to the Avtozavodsky district court of Nizhny Novgorod.
The Committee Against Torture applauds to the decision of the Nizhny Novgorod regional court. This judgment means that the state finds it really necessary to fight the torture practice by making the punishment for tortures more severe. We also believe that suspended sentence would encourage other policemen to use arbitrary treatment. In our opinion, infliction of such damage to health as loss of an organ, especially by a state agent, must be interpreted as a grave crime. Besides, an unduly lenient sentence gives the victim grounds to apply to the European Court of Human Rights, which we find unnecessary.
It should be mentioned that the behavior of the Nizhny Novgorod regional prosecutor’s office inspires respect, since it was persistent in asserting its position and demonstrating its commitment to observe international and Russian law.
The Committee Against Torture will report about the new trial separately.