The Strasbourg Court will deal with the case of the Iritov family, activists from Nalchik


08 December 2020

Today, on 8 December 2020, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of activist Aslan Iritov from Kabardino-Balkariya and his family members who complained of the battery by police officers in 2017. Human rights defenders think that the Russian authorities violated several articles of the European Convention with regard to the Iritov family: the ones guaranteeing freedom from torture and the right to effective investigation, as well as the right to respect for private and family life.

As we have previously reported, in November 2017 the Iritov family from the Kabardino-Balkar Republic applied to the Committee Against Torture: they reported that on 31 October 2017, people in police uniform and in civilian clothes came to the yard of their house, located in Volny Aul District of Nalchik, and demanded to bring the head of household forward to them. The women, gathered in the yard, started to resent the unbidden guests and asked the officers to present their IDs or leave. Brother of the head of the household, Beslan Iritov, came out to the yard and expressed his outrage at the fact that the intruders were videotaping their yard with a video camera and attempted to get them out of the household yard.

According to the members of the family, head of the household, disabled Aslan Iritov, was still inside then. He does not have the hands on both arms, due to that he was dressing for a long time and came out in the yard the last. At that moment the armed masked people were already running in. Aslan was knocked down, his clothes were torn, he was stricken down to the ground, his head was pressed against the asphalt and his throat was squeezed. Aslan also hit his head against the edge stone when he was falling. The police officers hit his brother, Beslan, against the temple, and tied him up, as well. Then the brothers were taken out in the street and brought inside the mini-van. According to Aslan, while they were being carried, he was dropped and dragged along the ground several meters, and Beslan’s rib was broken during this operation.

The brothers were delivered to the city police department. At the department Beslan felt bad and the police officers had to call the ambulance for him. The doctors, arrived after the call, diagnosed the bruises and assumption of the fracture and told to deliver the detained to the first-aid station. On the same day the brothers were released.

According to the witnesses of the incident at Iritov’s house, women caught it bad, as well. For example, Aslan’s wife, Marina Iritova, had her finger broken, and his daughter Angelica, was hit with her face against the floor and her nose was damaged.

Subsequently, forensic medical examinations were performed in order to register the Iritovs’ bodily injuries. According to the experts’ conclusions, Aslan Iritov was diagnosed with “a bruise on the face, extravasations and bruises of the upper right and lower right limb”; Anzhelika Iritova was diagnosed with “bruises of the face, bruises of the front surface of the right knee joint”; Marina Iritova was diagnosed with “closed fracture of the middle phalanx of the second finger of the right hand”, and Beslan Iritov was diagnosed with “a blunt trauma of the rib case. Fracture of the ninth rib on the right without displacement. Contusion of the rib case soft tissues. Extravasation of the face”. Injuries of Marina and Beslan are qualified as medium damage to health.

Following the incident, the Iritov family applied to the Investigative Committee. However, the investigators initiated criminal proceedings against the Iritov brothers themselves under item 1 Article 318 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“applying violence against the police officer”).

On 26 October 2018, the court sentenced Beslan Iritov to six months of jail time. The criminal case against Aslan is still being examined by the court.

In total, during the pre-investigative check of the Iritovs application about the police battery, the investigators issued four dismissals of a claims to open a criminal case, of which three were subsequently declared illegal. On 19 July 2019, investigator of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Kabardino-Balkariya Republic Alim Nashapigov issued the last dismissal, having failed to detect anything illegal in the law-enforcement officers’ actions. In the opinion of the investigative authorities, the Iritovs’ bodily injuries developed as a result of their active resistance to legal actions of law-enforcement officers.

Human rights defenders appealed against this dismissal of the investigator at the Nalchik City Court, but on 24 December 2019, the court declared the refusal to initiate criminal proceedings to be legal. This ruling was quashed on appeal by the Supreme Court of the Kabardino-Balkariya Republic, and the material was returned to the City Court.

“Notably, to my question in court investigator Nashaoigov answered that the police officers illegally entered the Iritovs’ househould, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Magomed Alamov comments. – But, at the same time, in the opinion of the investigator, they did not commit any significant violations of the rights and legal interests of the persons who lived there”.

On 19 March 2020, the court returned the application to human rights defenders, having pointed out that it was necessary to provide the court with an authorized copy of the investigator’s ruling.

“Due to the fact that such a demand of the Nalchik court is not legal, it was decided to appeal against it to the court of appeals, – Alamov comments. – However, the republican court agreed with the ruling of the City Court and dismissed the proceedings on the application. Any practicing lawyer knows that the Criminal Procedural Code of the RF has no requirement to authorize the copies of the rulings of the authorities, which are appealed against in a court of law. That is why this ruling raises eyebrows, to put it mildly. At the present time, we submitted a cassational appeal against such rulings of the republican courts”.

Due to the fact that it did not appear possible to ensure an effective and objective investigation at the national level, today, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied on behalf of the Iritov family to the European Court of Human Rights. Human rights defenders think that the Russian authorities violated several articles of the European Convention with regard to the Iritov family: the ones guaranteeing freedom from torture and the right to effective investigation, as well as the right to respect for private and family life.

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