The UN Human Rights Committee acknowledged the violation of rights of a citizen from Nizhny Novgorod who was beaten up during apprehension in 2007


11 April 2019

The UN Human Rights Committee published a ruling in case of Vladimir Chernev from the Nizhny Novgorod region, who complained of the battery by the police officers during apprehension in 2007. The international body acknowledged that Russia violated Chernev’s right not to be subjected to torture as well as the right to effective legal remedy. Now, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, representing Chernev’s interests, will insist that the Russian authorities pay a fair compensation to Chernev.

On 9 July 2007, Nadezhda Cherneva applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance – she told human rights defenders that her brother Vladimir was severely beaten up by the police officers during apprehension.

In the course of the public investigation, human rights defenders managed to establish the following. On 14 June 2007, Vladimir Chernev was beaten up by the police officers without any grounds at Vyazovka settlement of the Kstovo District of the Nizhy Novgorod region during apprehension conducted in the framework of the operative investigative activity – drugs test purchasing operation.

Ms Cherneva, who witnessed the battery, described it in the following way: “Having run some distance, Chernev fell in the grass, and the man (a police officer in civilian clothes – note by the author) ran up to him and started saying: “Do you have any idea who you offer your posion to?”. Right after that he started to hit Chernev in the face. During this he was above Chernev. The man hit Chernev’s face 3-4 times. After that Chernev’s breathing became stentorious. Mr Chernev did not render any resistance. He did not talk at all during this time. When the man started to hit him, Chernev covered his face with his hands. Then the man started to kick Chernev with his foot against the head”.

According to the witness, later on, other police officers hit Chernov, as well.

In their turn, the police officers, who took part in the operational-investigative activity, claimed that Chernev “offered active resistance during apprehension, and combat sambo moves were applied against him”.

On the next day after the apprehension, a criminal case was opened against to Vladimir with regard to illegal drug sales. Later on, on 10 December 2007, he was declared guilty of having committed this crime and sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment.

As to the complaint about illegal physical violence applied Chernev by the police officers, at first, the officials of the Prosecutor’s Office, and later – of the Investigative Committee, issued four refusals to initiate a criminal case, which were subsequently quashed based on complaints by the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture.

The fifth ruling refusing to initiate criminal proceedings was issued on 9 April 2014 and subsequently was declared legal in the Russian judicial instances.

Having failed to restore the violated rights of Vladimir Chernev at the national level, on 10 December 2013, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to the UN Human Rights Committee on his behalf.

On 4 April of this year, the UN Human Rights Committee acknowledged that Russia violated item 3 of Article 2 and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, committed with regard to Vladimir Chernev.

“Now we are going to apply to the Russian authorities with a demand to execute the ruling of the Human Rights Committee – in particular, to pay fair compensation for morale damage to Vladimir Chernev. The ruling of the Committee does not specify the sum of the compensation, which makes it more difficult to restore the victim’s rights, but in any case, the duty to compensate morale damage is provided in the ruling, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments. – This obligation is rooted in the fact that our country is a member of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the norms of which were violated in this case”.

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