The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has communicated the complaint of Yury Zontov from Orenburg about police torture and inefficient investigation. It is worth noting that after lodging of this complaint with the Strasbourg court a year ago the criminal case based on the facts of torture was initiated but on the next day the prosecutor’s office promptly dismissed it. Now in the nearest time the Russian Federation is going to submit its comments on the case to the ECHR.
As we have previously reported, in September 2011 Yury Zontov applied for legal assistance to Orenburg office of INGO «The Committee Against Torture». He told the human rights defenders that on 27 August he was taken to the police department No.4 for Orenburg city. There police officers were beating him, hitting his feet with rubber truncheons, and strangling him with a plastic bag in order to make the man confess of thefts of a cell phone and a golden necklace. Having yielded to tortures Yury signed the full confession.
At the first-aid station the man told the doctors that he was beaten up by the police. Later the bodily injuries were registered when he was transferred to the temporary detention facility (IVS) and to a pre-trial detention center (SIZO): bruises on the chest and both feet, numerous scratches on the lower back, in the area of left cheek-bone and in the area of both wrist joints.
On 30 September the crime report based on this case was submitted to the Investigative Department for Orenburg of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Orenburg region. During the pre-trial investigation twelve dismissals to initiate criminal case were issued, which were subsequently quashed at the initiative of the lawyers of the Committee Against Torture as illegal and ungrounded.
Having exhausted all domestic remedies aimed at restoring Yury’s rights at the national level, in April 2014 human rights defenders lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human rights, it was communicated in a year.
«After the complaint was sent to the European Court of Human Rights a year ago the Investigative Committee initiated a criminal case under the article «Abuse of office», however the Prosecutor’s Office of the Promyshlenny District of Orenburg immediately quashed this decision on the grounds that Zontov received bodily injuries as a result of wrestling techniques used by the police officers, – emphasized the lawyer of the Orenburg office of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Dmitry Dmitriyev, who represents the interests of Yury Zontov. – Now with regards to the complaint’s communication by the European Court the Prosecutor’s Office will have to try hard to explain how Yury could get numerous bodily injuries, including bruises of both feet, as a result of wrestling techniques used against him».
The consultant of the Committee Against Torture for international law Ekaterina Vanslova: «The complaint based on the Zontov case was lodged on the same day with three other complaints of citizens from Orenburg about similar cases when the Investigative Committee investigators’ work actually amounted to sabotage. As a result it has been the second complaint which was communicated by the European Court within a year out of total four».