In 2015, lawyers with the CAT submitted an application to the Human Rights Committee on behalf of Sergey Litkevich’s mother. We were complaining against violation of her son’s right to life and ineffective investigation of his death which occurred after he spent some time in a sobering station in 2004. In addition, the woman claimed that she suffered from tortures herself, since for many years of trying she failed to obtain an answer from authorities to the question how and why her son died.
On September 6, 2004, 23-year old Sergey Litkevich was apprehended by the traffic police officers and taken to the sobering station. Prior to that, a doctor was called to attend him, and that doctor came to the conclusion that Sergey did not have any bodily injuries, of which he made a record in the traffic police officers’ official records. In the morning, Sergey could not be woken up, and the ambulance took him to the hospital, where he died on 8 September 2004, without regaining consciousness. Medical forensic examination stated that his death was caused by severe brain contusion. The criminal case based on the fact of his death was initiated 8 months later and was suspended 18 times.
In the response that the Russian authorities provided to the Human Rights Committee it was mentioned that Litkevich on his own fell from a bench when he was in the sobering station. However, the Committee came to a conclusion that the state failed to provide a convincing explanation of the circumstances of Sergey’s death and failed to carry out an effective investigation.
In addition, it is established that Sergey’s mother, Olga Litkevich, became a victim of inhumane treatment: 18 years passed since her son’s death, but she still does not know the exact circumstances of his death:
«The Committee understands the lingering sufferings and psychological stress inflicted to the mother of the person who died in detention, and thinks that it amounts to inhumane treatment of her».
In its conclusion, the Committee demands that the state performs effective investigation of Litketich’s death, as well as pays an adequate compensation to his mother and prevent such violations in future. Russia will have to report on the accomplished work to the UN Human Rights Committee no later than within 180 days. The CAT lawyers shall submit a lawsuit on compensation for moral damage on behalf of Olga Litkevich.
The comment from the CAT lawyer Maria Zadorozhnaya:
«The UN Human Rights Committee not only acknowledged that Sergey Litkevich’s right to life was violated, but also the fact that ineffective investigation of the circumstances of his death during 18 years made his mother a victim of psychological violence. This is the first case in our experience. We expect that the Russian authorities will carry out their international obligations in accordance with the Pact, and we shall continue to insist that the UN Human Rights Committee are executed at the national level».