The Supreme Court of Russia has legalized torture

Событие | Пресс центр

10 November 2014

On Friday 7 November 2014 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dismissed an appeal against the court decision in the case of Suleiman Edigov, who had been convicted earlier with 14.5 years of imprisonment. The judges of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation ignored the evidence gathered in the course of trial investigation by judge of the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic Vakhid Abubakarov that the convicted person was subjected to tortures, including torture with electricity, as well as threats to the judge by a person identifying himself as the Minister of the Interior for the Chechen Republic, general-lieutenant Ruslan Alkhanov and warning the judge against delivering a not-guilty verdict. The defense team is going to appeal against this decision.

(Source of the photo: http://www.alrf.ru)

As we have previously reported, on 23 May 2014 the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic delivered its conviction in the case of Suleiman Edigov, charged with criminal offenses under Articles 317 (encroachment on the life of an officer of a law-enforcement body) and 222 (2) (illegal purchase, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or bearing weapons, committed by a group of individuals by prior conspiracy) of Russian Criminal Code. Judge German Aleksandrov found the defendant guilty on all counts and sentenced the young man to fourteen and a half years to be served in a maximum security penal colony. 

The case of Suleiman Edigov attracted public attention  when, on 1 November 2013, judge of the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic Vakhid Abubakarov disqualified himself from examining this very case. As explained in the decision, it was done on the grounds that the judge had received a telephone call from «a person identifying himself as the Minister of the Interior for the Chechen Republic, general-lieutenant Alkhanov Ruslan Shakhaevich», who warned the judge against acquittal.

Examination of the appeal against the court decision in the case of Suleiman Edigov continued in the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on 7 November 2014. As we have previously reported, on the first day of the trial judges dismissed all the motions of the defense team, as well as other motions filed on Friday.  

During the speeches of the parties the lawyer of the defendant, a member of the President’s Council for Human Rights Yuriy Kostanov conclusively  stated his view to the court  – the verdict is based only on confessionary statements of Edigov obtained under torture. In particular, the defense team referred to the evidence given by the nurse who was called to the police department to debride Suleiman’s fingers rotting after torture with electricity, because the policemen could not bear to stay in the same room with him.   

Edigov himself pronounced a speech during the trial – he participated in the proceedings via videoconference from the detention facility of Grozny. Suleiman told in detail how he was tortured by policemen, and how they threatened to torture his disabled brother, who was in fact taken as a hostage. Edigov broke and signed everything they wanted from him – including that he received the injuries of his hands as a result of a light bulb exploding.  But the thing is that one cannot hold the light bulb with the back of the hand  (that’s where the defendant has injuries and burns) – the torturers did not take that into consideration. 
  
However, what is even sadder, the Supreme Court of Russia did not want to examine these «trifles» and sent Edigov to prison for fourteen and a half years. 

Lawyer Anton Ryzhov who is working with INGO «Committee Against Torture» expressed his views concerning the court decision and told about further plans in relation to this case:  «It is terrible that the man is sent to prison for a long term absolutely illegally. What is even more terrible is that the main court of the country swallowed this insult in the form of tortures of the defendant with electricity and threats to the federal judge from a person identifying himself as Minister of Interior for the Chechen Republic. The defense team shall definitively apply with a supervisory appeal against the court decision, we are also preparing a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights».