Three years of the investigators’ red tape is not the reason for compensation for moral damage


21 May 2019
Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Petr Khromov and Pavel Baronin

Today, on 21 May 2019, judge of the Basmanny District Court of Moscow Galina Grafova dismissed Pavel Baronin’s lawsuit seeking for compensation for moral damage for ineffective investigation of his torture complaint.  The judge deemed that three years of red-tape and fourteen illegal refusals to initiate criminal proceedings did not inflict Pavel any sufferings worthy of compensation. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture will appeal against this ruling.

As we have previously reported, in July 2016, Pavel Baronin applied to human rights defenders for legal support. According to him, in the evening on 14 May 2015. Pavel was strolling with his friends in the Kuzminki park. There they bumped into a citizen of Uzbekistan, with whom they had a conflict. As a result, Pavel and his friends beat him up, and having taken 400 roubles from him, went in the depth of the park. Approximately in half an hour Pavel saw about fifteen men running in his direction. In fear, he tried to run away, but fell. Then, according to Pavel, these people started to beat him up with arms and feet. As it became known later, the men turned out to be the officers with the Chief Directorate for Counter-Extremism at the Ministry of the Interior of Russia.

«It hurt a lot and I was scared, I was afraid they would kill me. I felt totally devastated. Since I actively tried to cover my head with my hands, eventually they tied my hands behind my back with some wire. My hands were tied very tight, and because of that they immediately started to get swollen, and one of the attackers said with a laugh that «in an hour these might as well be cut off». After that they just left me lying on the cold ground. When I moved a little, a hit followed right away», – Pavel described.

After the meeting with the police officers Pavel had to stay in hospital for two weeks. He was diagnosed with numerous hematomas, bruises of the face, upper shoulder girdle, soft tissues of the head, cerebral concussion, post-traumatic hardness of hearing at the left ear.

Pavel publicly told that the police officers applied physical violence against him during the court hearing two days after the apprehension, when house arrest was selected for him as a measure of restraint. Later, Pavel’s lawyer applied to the Committee with a crime report, as well.

During the pre-investigative check the investigators issued fourteen rulings refusing to initiate criminal proceedings, which were subsequently quashed as illegal and ungrounded by the superiors of the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office.  “At the same time, two of these rulings are mentioned in official documents, however, they are actually not present in the materials and were never sent to anyone – apparently, the investigator simply forgot to write them, but it did not embarrass either him or his superiors, or the Prosecutor’s Office, of the court”,  – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Petr Khromov, who represented Pavel Baronin’s interests, points out.   

On 6 February 2019, human rights defenders applied to the Basmanny District Court of Moscow with a lawsuit on compensation for moral damage inflicted by illegal actions of the Investigative Committee officers, who, during three years, failed to perform effective work based on Baronin’s torture complaint. The psychologist’s conclusion, whose examination revealed an expressed depression of medium severity, neurosis and other deviations related to long-term psycho-traumatic situation, was used for justification of the lawsuit.  Taking into account the European Court’s practice, Pavel’s moral sufferings were evaluated at  580 000 rubles.

Today, the court dismissed the claims under the lawsuit in full scope.   

“During the court hearing, the Investigative Committee’s representative stated that illegal rulings of the investigators do not violate Baronin’s rights and do not inflict any moral damage. Unfortunately, my referring to the norms of the criminal and procedural code, the stance of the Constitutional Court of Russia and the European Court of Human Rights have not convinced either him or the judge, in the opposite,” – Petr Khromov emphasized.

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture will be appealing against this court ruling.   

As we have previously reported, on 28 March 2019, human rights defenders submitted an application on behalf of Pavel Baronin to the European Court of Human Rights.

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