The Supreme Court of Russia sided with a citizen from Nizhny Novgorod who accuses the Anti-Extremism Centre officers of torture


21 November 2018

The Investigative Committee will once again deal with the check of Nikita Danishkin’s complaint of torture at the Nizhny Novgorod Anti-Extremism Center in 2010. This became possible thanks to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, which established the fact of torture of Nikita, and due to today’s ruling of the Supreme Court of Russia.

As we have previously reported, on 1 February 2011 Nikita Danishkin applied to Nizhny Novgorod office of interregional nongovernmental organization «The Committee Against Torture» for legal assistance. In his application Nikita claimed that on 25 December 2010 he was detained in his rented flat by officers of the Anti-Extremism Centre (AEC) who took him to AEC headquarters. There these officers beat and tortured his him (they made Nikita sit with crossed legs, tied his legs up with the towing-cable and flung him on the floor) in order to make him confess of preparation of a terrorist attack and dissemination of information smearing the honor and dignity of AEC staff. Nikita emphasized that the head of AEC took part in his tortures.

According to Mr Danishkin, the police officers failed to obtain the confession from him and they brought him to the Temporary Isolation Cell, however, when the duty officer there saw Nikita’s numerous injuries he sent him to hospital No.40 for an examination. As a result, Mr Danishkin was diagnosed with bruises, including on his face.

On December 27, 2010 Danishkin was admitted to remand prison, where he had the following injuries documented: a red-brown bruise on the right side of the abdominal area, a yellowish-green bruise in the axillary region on the left, multiple purple bruises on the face and neck.

Danishkin complained about ill-treatment to the head of the Investigative Committee. However, no criminal case was initiated, and the pre-investigation check, in the course of which investigator Novikov five times illegally passed refusals to initiate criminal proceedings and which lasted for over one year and a half, ended in the Nizhny Novgorod regional court on 5 August 2013 where the sixth refusal was declared legal in the end.

On 15 June 2011 the Avtozavodsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod declared Nikita Danishkin to be guilty of committing the crime under part 1 of Article 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“illegal storage, transportation of explosives and explosive devices”) and sentenced him to three years prison term in a standard regime penal colony.

Having exhausted all domestic remedy, on 5 February 2014 lawyers with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights. On 7 April 2015 it was communicated. After communication the pre-investigation check based on Danishkin’s complaint was resumed and the material was handed over to investigator of the first department for major cases investigation of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Nizhny Novgorod region Aleksandr Busarov. However, the criminal case was never opened.

On 2 May 2017, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling with regard to the complaint submitted in the interests of Danishkin. The Strasbourg judges unanimously established the following:

– Article 3 of the Convention was violated in its material part (the applicant was subjected to torture);

– Article 3 of the Convention was violated due to absence of efficient investigation of the applicant’s claims about having been tortured by the police officers.

Due to that Nikita Danishkin was awarded twenty thousand euro as a compensation for moral damage.

“After this ruling of the European Court the Russian authorities became obliged to find and bring to responsibility the police officers who tortured Nikita, however, the investigative authorities did not even resume the check based on his application, let alone initiating the criminal proceedings, – lawyer with the International Legal Defense Department of the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova emphasizes. – That is why on 15 June of this year we had to apply to the Supreme Court of Russia to quash the court rulings which declared the refusal to initiate criminal proceedings to be legal”.

Today, the Presidium of the Supreme Court of Russia quashed the rulings of the Nizhny Novgorod and the Moscow District Courts, which declared the latest investigator’s refusal to initiate criminal proceedings, based on Nikita Danishkin’s torture complaint, to be legal. Now the investigators will be obliged to resume their work based on this complaint.   

“Now we are going to apply to Head of the Regional Investigative Department Andrey Vinogradov with a request to initiate criminal proceedings based on Danishkin’s complaint, since years-long pre-investigative check ended with nothing”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Anastasia Nikitina comments.  

According to Ekaterina Vanslova, Russia often fails to execute the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights: “Quite often the process of resuming the investigation based on torture complaint at the national level after the ruling of the ECHR takes such a long time that the guilty police officers manage to escape punishment due to expiry of the period of limitations. As a result, the state never restores the torture victim’s rights, which leads to the repeated application to the European Court”. 

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