The Avtozavodsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod started debates on the criminal case of six officers of the Avtozavodsky District Criminal Investigations department, who are charged with several episodes of office abuse and home invasion. State Prosecutor Arkadiy Seniayev considered the fact of the defendants’ guilt in the charged crimes to be completely proven and asked the court to sentence each of the defendants to jail time.
(Photo: lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Dmitry Utukin)
As we have previously reported, on 27 March 2012 Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov applied to the Nizhny Novgorod branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to them, the police officers of Police Department No.1 for Nizhny Novgorod used illegal violence against them. It took the investigators of the Investigative Department over two and half years to take this case to court.
The debates started with the report of State Prosecutor Arkadiy Seniayev. He considered the fact of the defendants’ guilt in the charged crimes to be completely proven. The aggravating circumstances, pointed out by the State Prosecutor, involved the fact that the crime was performed by the police officers acting as a group of persons by previous concert.
The State Prosecutor asked the court to sentence former deputy head of police department No.1 for Nizhny Novgorod Vladimir Samsonov to 7 years of prison term; head of Criminal Investigations Sergey Alimov, head of the department of property crimes Ivan Vechkanov and senior criminal investigator Sergey Nikolayev to 4 years of prison term; deputy head of criminal investigations Andrey Balandin and criminal investigator for property crimes of the criminal investigations department Evgeny Telenkov to 3.5 years of prison term. He also asked the court to impose the penal colony of standard security for serving the sentence.
Lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Dmitry Utukin, representing the interests of the victim in the court proceedings, also took part in the debates: «The defendants not only failed to repent what was done by them, but to this day believe in their impunity. The police officers repeatedly emphasized that all their actions were aimed at exposure of crime. However, struggle against crime using such methods is simply not acceptable. If culpability or nonculpability of a person is established exclusively by the criminal investigators, we will slide into the Middle Ages.
The victims repeatedly stated that they were afraid of reprisal by the defendants. Investigator Yury Yelantsev, who investigated the criminal case, on 23 January 2013, during the court hearing dedicated to imposing the measures of restraint to the defendants, reported the unprecedented pressure which is exerted on him by high-rank police officers.
It is also important to answer the question whether the punishment imposed by the authorities to the police officers is adequate and would prevent new crimes. If the state does not take serious steps in order to punish the culprits, the right, sealed by Article 3 of the European Convention («prohibition of torture»), despite its fundamental importance, will turn out inefficient in practice.
That is why I believe that only the verdict, sentencing the police officers to jail time, will be able to provide the supremacy of law».
The next court hearing is scheduled for 22 March at 9.30 a.m. The second representative of the victims Evgeniy Goubin will be called upon, as well as the victims themselves – Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov.