Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture managed to successfully insist on checking the torture complaints of three men, who incriminated themselves with regard to murder of the Orenburg businessman and his underage son, by the investigators of the special department for investigating the crimes of law-enforcement officers. Despite the fact that the investigation established non-involvement of all the three defendants in the double murder, no criminal case with regard to the fact of torture has been opened yet.
As we have previously reported, on 1 June 2018, Mushfig Shykhaliyev and Ramin Shakhmarov from Abdulino town applied to the Orenburg branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. The men reported that on 7 March 2018 they were apprehended one by one by the police officers, who, without explaining the reasons, delivered them to Orenburg to the building of the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Orenburg region, located at address: Dubitskogo St., 2.
There, according to the applicants, the police officers tortured them, demanding to confess of the murder of the Orenburg businessman and his underage son. Later on, when in Pre-trial Detention Facility, Mushfig Shykhaliyev wrote a full confession. According to him, he wrote it after one of the members of administrative staff made a hint to him that he might be raped if he persisted.
However, on 17 March, Shykhaliyev and Shakhmarov were released from custody due to the absence of the evidence of their guilt – the alibi, which they initially reported, was confirmed: at the time of the murder of the businessman and his son they were in Bashkiria, busy with purchasing some meat.
In the end of July 2019, the third person who was involved in this case – ex-defendant Mushfig Guliyev – applied to the Committee Against Torture. He told human rights defenders that he was forced by torture to defame Shakhmarov and Shykhaliyev providing false testimony that they killed the Orenburg businessman and his underage son.
Guliyev was also released from custody two months after the apprehension — his alibi was confirmed by numerous witnesses. However, he was transferred from the Pre-Trial Investigative Facility to a special institution for temporary detention of foreign citizens, because when he was under custody, the period for which he was authorized to stay on the territory of the Russian Federation, expired. Having found himself to be a hostage of the situation, he was forced to wait nine more months to be forcefully deported from Russia.
Only when he left the territory of Russia, he felt safe and decided to apply to the Committee Against Torture.
On 6 June 2018, human rights defenders applied to the Investigative Committee on behalf of Shakhmarov and Shykhaliev with a torture complaint. On 29 June, the criminal case with regard to the fact of abuse of office was opened, however, as early as on 2 July this ruling was quashed by the Prosecutor’s Office.
Starting from 3 July, the investigators of the Third Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF based in Nizhny Novgorod started checking the torture complaint. By the present time, the investigators issued three rulings refusing to initiate criminal proceedings, the last of which is dated 2 November 2018.
For over a half a year, the investigative authorities refused to provide human rights defenders with access to the materials of the check. When they managed to familiarize with the materials of the case, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted a complaint against the last refusal to initiate criminal proceedings. Fourteen months later, on 20 January 2020, it has become known that the check with regard to applications submitted by Shakhmarov, Shykhaliyev and Guliyev is resumed.
Due to ineffective work of the investigation, on 28 January 2020, lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova applied to head of the Third Investigative Department of the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the RF Grigory Zhitenev with a request to hand over the material of the check with regard to the torture complaint for examination of the specialized investigative department which is dealing with investigation of the crimes committed by the law-enforcement officers.
Today, human rights defenders received an answer from Mr Zhitenev, in which he stated that the request was satisfied and from now on the check of torture complaints submitted by Shakhmarov, Shykhaliyev and Guliyev will be dealt with by the specialized department. Senior investigator Evgeny Kitayev was assigned with this check.
“In the course of the personal appointment Grigory Zhitenev invited head of the special department Ilya Mikhaylin, with whom we scrutinized the material of the check and defined which procedural activities should be prioritized”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova comments. – I lay serious hopes on the work of the special department, I hope that investigator Kitayev will meet our expectations and will not follow in the steps of his colleagues”.