Two former police officers from Orenburg are charged with electricity torture


08 June 2015

On 9 June 2015 the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg will start examination of the criminal case in relation to former criminal investigations department police officers under the Department of the Interior for Orenburg Kirill Sorokin and Aleksey Pustovidov, charged with crime under item «a» part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the RF (abuse of office with use of force). The lawyers of the Committee Against Torture who conducted the public enquiry of this case will represent the interests of Aleksandr Zhdan in court.

(Photo: Aleksandr Zhdan)

As we have previously reported, in July 2009 Mr Zhdan applied to the Orenburg regional branch of the NGO «Committee Against Torture» seeking legal assistance. According to the applicant, on 22 January 2009, when being a witness in criminal proceedings, he was apprehended by the police and taken to a department, where police officers tortured him with electricity. The severe torture provoked a stroke of cerebral apoplexy, and the officers had to take him to hospital. Aleksandr, who had suffered no health conditions before the detention, was after that granted a disability status, the II group according to Russian scale. In the course of his medical rehabilitation, arranged for by the Committee Against Torture, doctors managed to restore his speech function, but Aleksandr’s right hand and partly one leg will remain paralyzed for life.

For five years human rights defenders were seeking justice at the national level. Lawyers lodged dozens various complaints with the Investigative Committee, Prosecutor’s Offices and courts on Aleksandr’s behalf. The lawyers representing his interests appealed against at least ten unlawful refusal to investigate. Twice courts sustained claims for compensation for moral damage inflicted by the officers’ unlawful actions. However, there was no progress in the criminal investigation, and the pre-investigation inquiry, which the relevant procedural law gives 3 days to be finished, lasted for years.

Having exhausted all possible remedies for restoring Aleksandr’s rights at the national level the human rights defenders submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (in February of this year it was communicated). As it turned out, a criminal case was nevertheless initiated sometime before that based on the fact of abuse of office with use of force.

The investigation resulted in charging Kirill Sorokin and Aleksey Pustovidov with crime under «a» part 3 Article 286 of the Criminal Procedural Code of the RF (abuse of office with use of force). The Deputy Prosecutor of Leninsky District of Orenburg has affirmed conviction in relation to Kirill Sorokin and Aleksey Pustovidov and the case was referred to the for examination on its merits.

It took the judge of the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg Tatyana Pronkina a whole month to assign court hearing of this criminal case. During this time four preliminary court sessions were held for examination of numerous motions from the defendants’ defense on their merits.

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