"Total recall". The trial of two police officers, charged with torture of the detained, continues in Orenburg


09 June 2016

The Dzerzhinsky District Court of Orenburg continues to examine of the criminal case against two criminal investigators Albert Akmanov and Vasiliy Zoubikhin, charged with committing the crime under items «а, b» part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF («Abuse of office with the use of special equipment»).

(Vyacheslav Sadovsky, Maksim Nimatov and Anton Ferapontov)

As we have previously reported, on 27 August 2008 Vyacheslav Sadovskiy, Maksim Nimatov and Anton Ferapontov applied to the Orenburg office of the Committee Against Torture. They reported to human rights defenders that on 25 August 2008 they were detained by the police, taken to the Dzerzhinskiy District Department of Internal Affairs where they were battered and brutally tortured. For the whole night police officers were trying to obtain confession statements from them related to a number of different crimes: from the robbery of the beer stand to murder of the police officer. According to the applicants, in addition to «standard» battery the police put gas masks on their heads and blew cigarette smoke into the tube, hung them by the hands and legs tied behind their backs, everything was accompanied by battery with truncheons.

The victims state that the tortures lasted till the morning of August 26. The detainees were deprived of sleep and if they started falling asleep they were hit on the head.
The victims’ parents and other relatives, having accidentally learned that their sons are detained by the police, kept the watch near the building of the Dzerzhinsky District Police Department. It is worth pointing out the fact that for a long time the police tried to convince them that their sons were not in the building of the District Police Department. Only by the evening of 26 August the police allowed the lawyers to see the young men.
Despite the fact that the police officers threatened them with harsher treatment in case they change their testimony, the young men in the presence of the lawyers reported that they were forced to incriminate themselves under torture and to sign some documents.

The police officers illegally detained the young men for over 24 hours without making any charges. After the young men were released they first went to the first-aid station, and then to hospital, where the doctors registered all numerous bodily injuries: all the three were diagnosed with hematomas, bruises, joints dislocations, one of them was diagnosed with cerebral concussion, Vyacheslav Sadovsky had a broken rib, and Anton Ferapontov had a broken nose.

On the next day all the three young men and their parents applied to the investigative authorities with a crime report. The victims also applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal help.

Despite the traumas, confirmed by medical documents and numerous testimonies of witnesses who saw the young men without any bodily injuries at the moment of their apprehension, and testimonies of witnesses who saw the beaten up victims covered in blood taken out from the building of the Dzerzhinsky District Police Department, the investigative authorities dragged their heels initiating the criminal case. The check of the crime report that should have been conducted within three days lasted over five and a half years. No less than seventeen times the Investigative Department issued refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, which were declared illegal after the Committee Against Torture lawyers’ complaints.

Human rights defenders also managed to prove in court that the young men apprehension was illegal and to collect from the state the compensation for moral damage incurred by this illegal action.

Taking into account the persistent reluctance of the investigative authorities to investigate this incident at the national level, in spring of 2014 the members of the Committee Against Torture had to lodge a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the applicants. Practically at the same time when it was lodged on 9 April 2014 the investigative authority initiated the criminal case based on the fact described above. The investigation of the case was assigned to the first department for investigation of major cases of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the Orenburg region.

«As matter of fact, after the criminal case initiating its investigation was performed rather quickly and effectively: at least, the investigators performed all the necessary investigative activities within a short period of time, forensic medical examinations were assigned, medical documents were requested», – lawyer of the Committee Against Torture Timur Rakhmatulin emphasized then.

On 17 December of last year the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Orenburg started to examine this case.
«The incident which became the reason for the judicial proceedings and took place almost eight years ago, is reflected differently in the witnesses’ memory. For example, the witnesses – the defendants’ colleagues – are giving very little information on the circumstances of the young men stay at the police department and most often answer the Prosecutor’s questions «I don’t remember, it was a long time ago», – lawyer of the Committee for Prevention of Torture Evgeny Litvinov comments. – The situation is different with the witnesses who are relatives and friends of the victims, who, as a rule, give a lot clearer picture of what happened. They remember how desperately they were striving for information about the detained from the duty station officers as well as the grave state of the detained after 24 hours after their delivery, when they were released one by one from the police department».

Examination of the criminal case against the active police officers Albert Akmanov and Vasily Zoubikhin will continue on 10 June of this year.

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