Today the Balakhna court may pass a sentence on two police officers charged with tortures


21 November 2008

 21 November 2008, at15:00 the Balakhna city court division composed of three professional judges chaired by judge Rassolova will announce the verdict for two officers from the Balakhna Directorate of the Interior who are charged with abuse of powers. Lawyer Irina Migachyova represents the interests of one of the victims Mr. Alexander Marychev.   

You may remember that the officers are accused of a number of crimes connected to tortures. According to the investigator, they applied unlawful investigation methods in treatment of detainees on a regular basis. All in all, there are 5 victims.

These criminal proceedings are obviously protracted. The decision to open a criminal case was taken already on 30 March 2006.   

On 10 July 2007 the Balakhna City court of Nizhny Novgorod region chaired by judge Bushmina terminated criminal proceedings against two investigation officers from the Investigation Department of the Balakhna Directorate of the Interior due to reconciliation with the victims. This judgment was cancelled by the cassation instance.

On 28 November 2007 the Balakhna City court delivered a new decision under this criminal case. The state prosecutor gave up the charge under cl.a, b of p.3 art.286 of the RF CC (grave offense with maximum 10 years of imprisonment) and submitted a motion to qualify the officers’ actions under p.1 of art.285 of the RF CC (medium gravity offense punished by maximum 5 years of imprisonment). At the same time the prosecutor asked the court to terminate the proceedings under p.1 of art. 75 of the RF CC (relief of criminal responsibility due to effective penitence).

When the motion was filed, all indictees pled guilty under p.1 art.285 and immediately gave detailed confessionary statements that the court assessed as circumstances contributing to crime detection. After confessing to the crime the indictees apologized to the victims. The apologies were evaluated as circumstances targeted at attenuation of damage incurred by the crime. The court fully sustained the prosecutor’s motion. Judge Matveyev of the Balakhna City court terminated criminal proceedings against all the accused. However, materials of the criminal case against Mr. Sermavbrin, Mr. Kryukov and Mr. Shapovalov witness that during the preliminary investigation neither of them voluntarily admitted his guilt or contributed to the solution of the crime, in fact, all of them denied their guilt.

The abovementioned facts allow us to conclude that the Balakhna City court issued an unlawful and unmotivated decision to stop criminal proceedings. Nevertheless, the cassation instance upheld the decision.

The Nizhny Novgorod region prosecutor filed a supervisory application to the Nizhny Novgorod regional court presidium which considered it and cancelled the judgment, the case was submitted for a new trial. 

In summer 2008 the Balakhna City court again started hearing this case. At that moment one of the accused, Nikolay Kryukov, was already dead. Despite the fact that in the previous proceedings the policemen had fully admitted their guilt and apologized to the victims, during the new trial they were denying their guilt and did not even think of apologies. Defense lawyers entered several motions to dismiss some evidence because it was obtained with procedural violations. Those motions were partially sustained.

On November 19 in course of debates prosecutor Glyadelova asked the court to sentence defendant Sermavbrin to 3.5 years and defendant Shapovalov to 5 years of imprisonment. It should be mentioned that during the whole period of proceedings the accused continued working as investigators. Besides, according to some victims, the police put psychological pressure on them.

The Committee against Torture hopes that this verdict, the third one, will be just and the culprits will be punished according to the criminal law.

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