Today, on 5 February 2019, the panel of judges of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court upheld the ruling of the District Court on collecting three hundred and fifty thousand rubles from the Ministry of the Interior for the benefit of Denis Kramchaninov, who was tortured in 2010 by the police officer when being forced to confess.
As we have previously reported, Denis Kramchaninov applied to the Committee Against Torture in July 2010. He told the human rights defenders that he was severely beaten by a local police officer who was forcing the young man to sign a false self-accusation of committing a theft.
As Kramchaninov reported in his explanation, in the evening of 15 July 2010 he was brought from his home to the Shakhunsky Police Department. Inside the office premises the police officer demanded that the guy confessed of theft, after that he hit him several times with his fists against the head, pressed his fingers with pliers, and, having put the gas mask on the young man, made him do knee bends. The battery and torture lasted about two hours, after that Denis yielded and agreed to sign a full confession, which was dictated to him by the police officer. When in the evening of the same day the young man applied to the Shakhunskaya District hospital doctors diagnosed him with a cerebral concussion and registered some hematomas on his body.
The criminal case on theft initiated against Denis was dismissed in a short time due to failure to prove the young man’s guilt.
For almost seven years human rights defenders were insisting on opening the criminal case based on Denis torture report: during this time ten refusals to initiate criminal proceedings were issued, subsequently they were declared illegal and quashed. In August 2016, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the European Court of Human Rights with a complaint in the interests of Denis Kramchaninov.
On 29 May 2017, the criminal case was opened with regard to former investigative officer of the Department of the Interior for the Shakhunsky District Andrey Tumanov, who is accused of committing a crime under item “a” part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“abuse of office with the use of violence”).
The preliminary investigation of the criminal case took about two months and after the assertion of the indictment by the Prosecutor it was sent to court for evaluation on its merits.
On 17 January 2017, in the course of the court hearing, State Prosecutor Sergey Lugin requested the punishment for the defendant in the form of six years prison term with serving the time in standard security penal colony. The victim said he would be satisfied with any verdict at all. In the course of the court hearing, the defendant did not acknowledge his guilt, refused to provide evidence, having used the constitutional right not to provide evidence against oneself.
On 17 January 2018, judge of the Shakhunsky District Court of the Nizhny Novgorod region Valentina Smelova passed a judgment of conviction with regard to former investigative officer of the Department of the Interior for the Shakhunsky District Andrey Tumanov, who was declared guilty of committing a crime under item “a” part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“abuse of office with the use of violence”) and sentenced to four years’ conditional term.
After the verdict took its legal effect, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to court with a lawsuit against the Ministry of Interior of Russia seeking compensation of moral damage inflicted to Denis Kramchaninov by illegal activities of the convicted law-enforcement officer.
On 31 May 2018, judge of the Shakhunsky District Court of the Nizhny Novgorod region Valentina Smelova partially satisfied the claims under the lawsuit, having ruled to collect from the Ministry of the Interior three hundred and fifty thousand rubles out of the claimed seven hundred. This compensation satisfied the victim, however, representative of the Ministry of Interior of Russia Natalya Rozhnova did not agree to the ruling of the District Court: according to her, the sum of the awarded compensation was seriously overestimated.
Today, the panel of judges of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court, having examined the appellate appeal of the representative of the Ministry of Interior of Russia, dismissed it and upheld the ruling of the Shakhunsky District Court.
“We are satisfied with today’s ruling of the Regional Court and with the amount of the awarded compensation, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Pavel Osadchiy, representing the interests of victim Denis Kramchaninov comments. – However, this ruling is rather an exception to the rules, than a consistent pattern, since normally the compensation for police torture is several times higher. Unfortunately, our justice system still lacks the system of calculation of the amount of compensation for moral damage inflicted by illegal actions of law-enforcement officers. This leads to the situation when judges for different cases with similar circumstances pass rulings where the amount of compensation differs manifold. For example, last year, for Nizami Gasanov and Elshan Zamanov, who were beaten up at the police department in 2012, the court awarded only three thousand rubles each”.