Two years of the investigators’ red tape is not a reason for damage compensation


02 February 2021

Yesterday, on 1 February 2021, judge Svetlana Tolmacheva dismissed Maksim Tolmachev’s lawsuit on compensation for moral damage with regard to ineffective check of his torture complaint. Despite the fact that for two years the investigative authorities five times illegally dismissed the claims to open a criminal case and have not yet questioned the key witness, who claims that he saw the Gavrilov battery, the court deemed that it is not a reason for awarding a compensation. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture will be appealing against this ruling.

As we have previously reported, on 27 November 2018, Maksim Gavrilov from Nizhny Novgorod applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. He claimed that in the morning of 25 November he together with his wife and his mother-in-law came to the railroad station to go to Moscow and attend the Bolshoy Theatre in the evening. At the platform three men in civilian clothes approached them.

“The men called me by my name, gave me an A4 formant sheet of paper and asked me to sign, I suspected these were police officers. I did not study the content of the paper”, – Gavrilov explained.

Subsequently it turned out that it was an order on Gavrilov’s recondition as a witness in the criminal case.

The police officers twisted Gavrilov’s hands, handcuffed him and took him away in the direction of an underground passage. According to Maksim, he repeatedly asked questions about the reasons for his apprehension, but no answers were given, and after another question of this sort posed in the underground passage, the police officers hit his head and chest several times, after that he fell over and hanged on the police officers’ arms. After that he was taken out of the underground passage and put into an ordinary civilian vehicle and taken to unknown destination.

During the trip Gavrilov kept asking where he was going but he did not receive an answer. In the car, according to an applicant, his head and body were hit several times. Gavrilov was taken to Police Department No.5 of the Department of the Interior of Russia for Nizhny Novgorod, taken inside and to the assembly hall to wait for the investigator. According to Maksim, there they continue to beat him up, hitting him about dozen times.

As it became known later, Gavrilov was detained by the officers of the 11th department of economic security and anti-corruption section with the Department of the Interior of Russia for Nizhny Novgorod because of his repeated refusals to present himself to provide explanations in the framework of some criminal case. Gavrilov himself denies that the received any calls from the investigator, the criminal case of whom he’s involved in.

At the police department, Gavrilov feld bad due to the stress he was subjected to, and his blood pressure rose. An ambulance was called for him. The doctors diagnosed him with a hypertensic crisis and hospitalized him to City Hospital No.5. Subsequently, according to the medical forensic expert, Maksim Gavrilov was diagnosed with bodily injuries: “Extravascations of the ear lobes, postaural area on the left, front surface of the chest rib, bruises of the parietotemporal area on the left”.

On the same day, after the rendered medical assistance, Gavrilov applied to the Investigative Committee with a crime report.

On 25 December, based on the results of this report review, Senior Investigator with the Investigative Department for the Nizhny Novgorod District Aleksandr Marchenkov submitted the material according to the jurisdiction to the Privolzhskoye Transport Department with the Investigative Committee of Russia, however, on 21 January 2019, the material of the check was returned back from there.

In total, during the pre-investigative check the investigative authorities issued five dismissals of claims to open a criminal case which were subsequently quashed as illegal ones.

The fifth dismissal was quashed on 26 November 2020 by Deputy Prosecutor of the Nizhegorodsky District of Nizhny Novgorod Vladimir Mityurin as illegal. Another pre-investigative check was initiated with regard to Gavrilov’s complaint, but based on its result, on 11 January 2021 the claim to open a criminal case was dismissed again. Human rights defenders will be appealing against this ruling.

Back in November 2020, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to court on behalf of Gavrilov with a lawsuit to compensate the moral damage inflicted to him by illegal activities of the Investigative Committee officers who could not effectively perform their work with regard to his torture complaint for two years. A psychologist conclusion was attached to the justification of the lawsuit, who diagnosed Maksim with expressed depression of medium severity, neurosis and other deviations related to long-term psycho-traumatic situation. Taking into account the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, the demands under the lawsuit amounted to three hundred thousand rubles.

Yesterday, judge of the Sovetsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod Svetlana Tolmacheva dismissed this lawsuit.

“We are definitely not satisfied with this ruling and will be appealing against it, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Yuliya Osipova claims. – The court simply walked off the evaluation of the investigators’ inaction, whose sluggishness prevented from obtaining the video record of Gavrilov stay at the police department where, according to him, he was subjected to violence. In addition, the investigative authorities did not even attempt for a long time to establish and question the witnesses, ignoring the information we provided. Besides, the input of one of the key witnesses has not yet been received by the investigators”.

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