The verdict of former police officers who broke the spine of the detained, is upheld


30 May 2017

Today, on 30 May 2017, the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court upheld the verdict of two former officers of the criminal investigation department No. 7 of the Department of the Interior for Nizhny Novgorod Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov. On 2 March of this year they were declared guilty of committing the crime under items “a, b” of part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“exceeding official authority using violence and special equipment”), and convicted to five years of jail time each.  Lawyers with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, representing the interests of victim Aleksandr Dmitriyev, will insist on compensation of moral damage inflicted to him by the crime of the former police officers. 

(Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov)

As we have previously reported, according to the legal findings of court of first instance, on 6 March 2011 Aleksandr Dmitriyev was unlawfully apprehended by the police officers in his own apartment and taken to Police Department no. 7 on suspicion of theft. The next day Mr. Dmitriyev was charged with resisting police officers, and appeared before court, but Justice of the Peace in Sovetskiy District acquitted him, having found that no offense had been committed.

Despite the court decision, the policemen forcibly took Aleksandr to their department again, and forced him to give false statements against himself and his acquaintance, which read that they had stolen some building implements. The officers Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov were beating him and used the method of torture known as «envelope» (victim’s hands are twisted behind the back and handcuffed, legs are tied together and with the hands so that the victim is «folded» like an envelope). During this «interrogation» officer Sokolov set on his victim’s back – and the latter felt sharp pain in the lumbar area.

However, Mr Dmitriyev’s sufferings were not over even after signing the confession statement. It appeared that the man who he had been forced to bear false witness against had alibi. The officers resumed the severe beating to make Aleksandr give new statements that he had committed the theft alone.

Next day, on March 8, Aleksandr was free to go home. This was two days after his apprehension. He called an ambulance, and was immediately admitted to hospital.

Later Aleksandr Dmitriyev was examined by forensic medical experts. According to their report, on admission to hospital no. 39 the man had the following injuries: simple compression fracture of the first lumbar vertebrae, lumbar contusion (tenderness of the spinous processes, muscle tension, restriction of movement), brain concussion, wrist abrasions. Aleksandr is a disabled person of group II now.

On 13 April 2011 criminal proceedings were initiated following Aleksandr’s ill-treatment complaint, but on 6 October 2011 the case was closed on the grounds that no crime had been committed.

However, due to the efforts of the Committee Against Torture which called the media attention to this case, on 10 May 2012 the case was reopened and transferred to the first department of the Nizhny Novgorod region Investigative Committee Investigative Department.

As a result on 23 January 2014 the Sovetskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod pronounced the guilty verdict for two former police officers with Police Department no. 7 Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov and convicted them to five years prison term.

Their defense team was not satisfied with the court decision, having filed an appellate complaint against it, and on 4 March 2015 the judicial board quashed the ruling of the court of the first instance due to technical errors. The convicts, who spent over a year in the detention center, were released in the court room, and their measure of restraint was changed to the house imprisonment, and the case was sent back for re-examination to the district court.

However, the re-examination of this criminal case also ended with a judgment of conviction for the police officers. On 2 March 2017 judge of the Sovetskiy District Court Olga Kolyagina declared Aleksey Sokolov and Vadim Volkov guilty of committing a crime under item “a, b” part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of Russia (“exceeding official authority using violence and special equipment”). The defendants were convicted to 5 years of prison term in a standard regime penal colony. Both of them were taken into custody in the court room. 

The convicts were not satisfied with the judgment of conviction and appealed against it at the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court.
Today the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court upheld the ruling of the court of the first instance and dismissed the complaints of the convicts. The verdict entered in the legal force.
“We are definitely satisfied with the today’s ruling of the court. In the nearest future we will submit a lawsuit on compensation of moral damage to Aleksandr inflicted to him by the police officers”, – lawyer with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Evgeny Chilikov, representing the interests of Aleksandr Dmitriyev in court, comments.

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