The Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic took sides with human rights defenders in the case of torture of Timur Debishev


21 April 2023


«They jumped on me from above while I was lying on the floor. When the policemen got tired, they started beating me with a plastic pipe.»  According to Mr. Debishev, an actor from Chechnya, the officers used such methods to make him confess to distributing drugs. Meanwhile, the investigators have already issued 13 refusals to open the criminal case into these events.

In March, the lawyers of the Crew Against Torture challenged the latest refusal of the investigator before the court. Subsequently, the Staropromyslovskiy district court of Grozny rejected this human rights activists’ complaint, upholding the investigator’s decision as lawful. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic did not agree with the district court: on 18 April 2023, it remitted the complaint for reconsideration. According to the Crew’s lawyer, none of the arguments of the complaint received any assessment from the district court:

«According to the constitutional principle, a court must evaluate the lodged complaint. However, the Staropromyslovskiy court refrained from doing it, totally agreeing with the investigator’s decision and without considering the victim’s arguments. The Chechen Supreme Court supported our arguments and thus quashed the district court’s ruling.»

Timur Debishev, the actor of the State Russian Drama Theatre named after Lermontov, told human rights activists about the fact of torture in November 2018. He said that in the police department no. 1 (the Leninskiy district of Grozny), he was forced to confess to drug distribution, and when Mr. Debishev refused to confess, the policemen brought a stun gun.

«The electric shocks were applied for about half an hour. The officers asked questions like “Where is the stuff?”, but since I do not sell drugs, I wasn’t able to tell them anything.»

Timur, having decided to outsmart the policemen, said that at home, he had a medication called «Lyrica», which had a narcotic effect. The police then accompanied Mr. Debishev to his house, where they conducted a search, but did not find any drugs. At home, Timur managed to inform his relatives about the torture. After that, he was brought back to the police station, where, according to him, the beatings continued.

«They jumped on me from above while I was lying on the floor. There were four of them. When the policemen got tired, they started beating me with a plastic pipe. Then they left me overnight in the police garage, so I was released only in the morning.»

Subsequently, Mr. Debishev was diagnosed with multiple hematomas all over his body in the Republican Hospital. The medical expert found that Timur had injuries that had been caused by the impact of the electricity.

The first refusal to open a criminal case into torture was adopted by the investigator in November 2019. In total, there were 13 such refusals in three years.

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