"They can do anything at all to convicts and officers"


16 January 2018

The Sovetsky District Court of Orsk continues to review the criminal case with regard to former head of local Pre-Trial Detention Facility № 2 Evgeny Shnaider and former head of Operational Department of this establishment Vitaly Simonenko. They are charged with abuse of office with applying violence against three convicts, one of them, Vladimir Tkachuk, subsequently died due to inflicted wounds. Today two classified witnesses, former Detention Facility officers, were interrogated, who told about the circumstances of inflicting deadly wounds to Vladimir Tkachuk.

(Source of photo: http://www.orskeparh.ru)

In the course of today’s court hearing two former Detention Facility officers were interrogated, who agreed to tell the details of convict Vladimir Tkachuk’s battery in the capacity of classified witnesses, because they feared for their lives.

“According to them, they did not receive direct threats from the convicts, but they know about their connections in the criminal world. As one of the witnesses put it – “they can do anything at all to convicts and officers”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Vyacheslav Dyundin, who was present today at court in the capacity of deceased Tkachuk’s mother representative, commented.

One of the classified witnesses explained to the court that he saw Evgeny Shnaider hit convict Vladimir Tkachuk several times, not very hard. After that Vitaly Simonenko hit the convict several times, already with a significant force. The last hit made Tkachuk reel backward, tripped over the bump in the cement floor and hit hard with the occipital lobe against the bed frame and against the concrete floor. 

The second witness told that he learned about Tkachuk’s death according to oral information provided by other officers of the detention facility, who, simultaneously reported to him that the one who tells the truth to the investigator will have to face various “negative consequences”. He also explained to the court that he witnessed Simonenko hit convict Vasily Mirzodhanov several times – and that this battery was witnessed by some other officers of the detention facility.
As we have previously reported, mother of convicted Vladimir Tkachuk Nadezhda Chertovskikh applied to interregional non-governmental organization «Committee Against Torture» for legal assistance in September 2013. She informed human rights defenders that on 5 September she received a call from an unknown person who told her that her son had been beaten to death by the officers of Pre-Trial Detention Facility No.2 in Orsk, Orenburg region, where Tkachuk was seconded from Penal-Colony No 11 to serve his sentence as a household worker.

Initially the investigation of Tkachuk’s death was conducted in a rather spiritless and drowsy manner: this was expressively showed by the fact that investigator of Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for Orsk (Orenburg region) Anastasia Chichina issued six refusals to initiate criminal proceedings which were subsequently declared illegal and quashed. For half a year the investigator was asserting that Tkachuk received his numerous injuries as a result of a wooden plank falling on him. By the way, the unknown person who telephoned Nadezhda Chertovskikh on 5 September 2013 told her that the detention facility staff was going to maintain the version with the falling plank.

In all likelihood, the investigator considered the following version of the incident to be credible: a plank 30 centimeters wide and 5 centimeters thick was standing at the wall – the convicts used such planks to cover floors in the room. For some reason the investigator did not define the length of the plank, specifying it at «about 2-3 meters». As a matter of fact, the investigator did not see the «killing plank» as such, but just took the words of the detention facility staff for it. And so this plank supposedly fell on Vladimir Tkachuk’s head. However, judging by the character of his injuries, the plank fell several times…

Later on the conclusion of the specialist of State-owned Federal State Institution «111 Head State Center of medico-legal criminalistic examinations» of the Ministry of Defense of Russia established that «the character of V.I.Tkachuk’s closed craniocerebral injury shows that it was made as a result of repeated blows with a blunt hard object or objects with predominant traumatizing surface in head’s frontal, sincipital and cervical zones».

– According to the theory of Pre-Trial Detention Facility officers, Tkachuk received his injury during production operations on 2 September, and then he was taken to the Punishment Isolation Cell allegedly because he refused to get up after the wakeup order. According to the witnesses’ evidence, during all this time Tkachuk was asking for medical assistance, complained of headache and feeling bad, and in the course of several days before death he was already in the state of delirium, not realizing where he was. However, the doctors arrived to him only at 00.45 on 5 September when he was already in a coma. At 02.50 of the same day the doctors registered the death of the convict, – lawyer of the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin, representing the interests of the mother of the deceased, reported.

The criminal case with relation to this fact was initiated only in half a year, but even after that the investigators did not come closer to establishing the persons guilty of Tkachuk’s death: the case was dismissed six times, and each time human rights defenders appealed against such rulings of the investigators.

At the same time, on 4 May 2016 human rights defenders applied a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Nadezhda Chertovskikh. In December of the same year the complaint was communicated – questions were put to Russian authorities concerning the circumstances of Tkachuk’s death, as well as about the efficiency of the conducted investigation at the national level.

On 7 June of this year in the framework of the investigation of the criminal case based on the fact of the death of Vladimir Tkachuk, two high-ranking officials of the Orsk Pre-Trial Detention Facility No.2 were apprehended: Acting Head Evgeny Shnaider and Acting Head of the Operational Department Vitaly Simonenko.

Later on Evgeny Shnaider confessed of committing the crime under item “a” Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“abuse of office using violence”) – he hit convict Vladimir Tkachuk several times in the area of arms and chest.

The investigation considers Vitaly Simonenko the main culprit regarding the battery of Tkachuk. He is charged with committing crimes under two articles: abuse of office using violence which led to grave consequences, and inflicting grave bodily harm which led to the convict’s death by negligence. At the present time, the investigators think that Simonenko did not have the intent of inflicting grave bodily harm to Vladimir, which is why part 4 of Article 111 of the Russian Criminal Code is excluded from the indictment.

Later on the criminal case included two more victims – according to the investigation, on the same day when Tkachuk was beaten up, Simonenko beat up two other convicts, as well.

After the Prosecutor’s Office approved the indictment, the criminal case was sent to the Sovetsky District Court of Orsk, and on 10 November 2017 the preliminary court hearing took place.

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