Today, on 5 February 2016, judge of the Demsky District Court Albina Pivovarova after one hour of dispute with journalists and the victim’s representative passed a ruling for three police officers of the Criminal Investigations Department of Police Department No.1 of the Russian Federation Department of Interior for Ufa Vadim Fattakhov, Anton Demin and Denis Khouziakhmetov, giving them conditional sentence for torture of the underage boy. Human rights defenders, representing the interests of the victim, are going to appeal against this court decision.
(Denis Govorun and Ilshat Yamilov)
As we have previously reported, in February 2013 a 17-year-old citizen of the Ufa town Denis Govorun appealed for help to the office of INGO «Committee Against Torture» in Bashkiria. He accused local policemen of torture.
Denis told the human rights defenders that in the morning January 28, 2013 he was coming back from volleyball competitions in Samara town. Two policemen in civilian approached him at the “Dema” railway station, they showed a police ID and asked to go with them. In the police department №1 of the Demsky district of Ufa they began to “break” him so that he confessed, that he participated in a cafe theft on the night of 6/7 January 2013. Denis’s answer that he had nothing to do with that crime didn’t satisfy them and three police officers put him on the floor and tied him up. He sat like this for half an hour or so. Then the policemen untied him and went on with the talk, but Denis still insisted, he knew nothing of the theft. According to Denis, they began to threaten him, saying they would put drugs stealthily and send him to prison, and then started to beat him with hands and a rubber club. Then, as the applicant claims, they used the so-called «televisor (TV)» torture. They manacled his hands, seated him on the floor, tied his legs with a rope and wound it around his neck, having put a towel on it beforehand in order not to leave marks. After that the policemen pulled his head to his legs and fixed him like that for 30 minutes.
As Denis told, only after three hours of his detainment a children’s officer came to the room; about 10 in the evening they let him go from the police department, his mother and friend were waiting out front because policemen wouldn’t let them in.
They went home together, then to a first-aid center, where the fact of beating was established and the young man received a certificate on multiple bruises and hematomas; after that they went to the Investigative Committee and Denis wrote a crime report.
On 1 March 2013 investigative authorities of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Republic of Bashkortostan a criminal case was initiated against the police officer with Service Section of the Criminal Investigations Department of Police Department No.1 of the Russian Federation Department of Interior for Ufa (Demsky district) Vadim Fattakhov on suspicion of committing a crime under Article 286 (3) (a), (b) of Russian Criminal Code (exceeding official powers with use of violence and special equipment).
In their turn the lawyers of the Committee against torture carried out a public inquiry on Denis Govorun’s application. It involved the evidence of the applicant’s version, as well as legal assistance of this case at the stage of pre-trial investigation: they took part in the investigative activities, filed necessary motions.
Upon the completion of pre-trial investigation the case was submitted to the prosecutor, but he returned the criminal case for reinvestigation twice. So, the supervisory authority officer’s uncompromising stand increased the number of suspects from one to three. At last, in August 2014 the case was submitted to the prosecutor of the Demsky district one more time, and he approved the indictment and referred the case to court.
The examination of the criminal case in court lasted over a year. Despite the fact that the defendants were pleading not guilty during the whole trial, the judge of the Demsky District Court of Ufa Albina Pivovarova presumed their guilt to be proved, however, she considered conditional sentence to be sufficient. Three police officers were declared guilty of crime of committing a crime under Article 286 (3) (a), (b) of Russian Criminal Code (exceeding official powers with use of violence and special equipment) and got three years of conditional sentence each. As we have previously reported, the state prosecutor demanded to sentence each of the defendants to four years of prison term.
Lawyer Ilshat Yamilov, who is cooperating with the Committee for Prevention of Torture and was representing the interests of Denis Govorun in court, comments: «We are very dissatisfied not only with the court ruling but also with the way how today’s court session was held. Without any explanations judge Albina Pivovarova refused to open the trial until all the journalists would be removed from the court room, as well as myself, the participant in the trial – a victim’s representative. After one hour of dispute via the intermediary represented by the court secretary, the journalists, except for the state television channel representative, were forced to leave the court room. Then the judge announced that she will pronounce the verdict in her small room, where all the parties’ representatives had to crowd. As to the verdict itself, we are very dissatisfied with it – I don’t know such precedents in the Russian practice when violence against an underage, performed by a group, is punished by conditional sentence. We are going to appeal against this verdict».