On October 11, 2011 Nizhny Novgorod regional court examined the cassation appeal against conviction of two former Avtozavod district police officers – captain Zhuravlyov and warrant officer Ladin – who had ill-treated 19-year old Stanislav Lebedev. The appeal filed by one of the convicts, A.Y. Zhuravlyov, was aimed at quashing the verdict and termination of criminal proceedings. Having studied the facts of the case, the Nizhny Novgorod regional court upheld the verdict of the Avtozavodsky district court.
You may remember that Stanislav Lebedev was abused by officers of the Avtozavodsky district Directorate of the Interior at night on 8 March 2009. The following day the youth was hospitalized and underwent a surgery during which his left injured kidney was removed.
Criminal proceedings upon the fact of ill-treatment were instigated several months after the incident and only due to the involvement of the Committee Against Torture. In 2010 the Avtozavodsky district court found Zhuravlyov and Ladin guilty of abuse of office with violent treatment and imposed suspended sentence on them. In November 2010 the regional court sustained the victim’s and his representative’s cassation appeal by rendering the verdict too lenient and quashing it.
During retrial the district court classified the crime under cl. “a”, part 3 of Article 286 of the Russian Criminal Code (abuse of office with violent treatment). Ladin was also charged under p.1 of Article 111 of the Russian criminal Code (willful infliction of grave damage to health).
Both defendants were disqualified from holding public office for 3 years.
During the hearing, former policemen, as well as their lawyer N.B. Markova, repeatedly expressed extreme mistrust and neglect towards the Committee Against Torture and its activities. For instance, they accused the ICAT of putting constant pressure on the investigation and raising a row around the case. Besides, our organization was inculpated for using foreign financing.
Lawyer N.B. Marova stated that the mere existence of the Committee Against Torture in Russia is immoral. “We do not have inquisition here,” said Ms. Marova. The Committee Against Torture totally agrees with Ms. Marova in this respect and sincerely believes that medieval methods of law enforcement used by our police are absolutely inadmissible today. Therefore, it is very sad that our country claiming to have the rule of law needs NGOs dealing with such disgraceful and revolting crimes. In their turn, employees of the ICAT can guarantee Ms. Marova that the organization will end its existence as soon as such offenses cease.
Victim Lebedev and ICAT lawyers still find the verdict of the Avtozavodsky district court just and proportionate to the crime committed.