Collage: Maria Isayeva, Viktor Lipatov (photo: Evgeny Odinokov / RIA Novosti), Vasily Surov.
Yesterday, on 28 January 2021, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted crime reports to the Investigative Committee on behalf of six participants of the protest rally which took place in Moscow on 23 January. The applicants complain against illegal violence by law-enforcement authorities. Despite the legal requirements, the Investigative Committee registered all the crime reports as applications from citizens, the investigation of which is not mandatory.
After the protest rally which took place in Moscow, six citizens who suffered from actions of law-enforcement officers at the Pushkinskaya Square, submitted applications to the Committee Against Torture requesting to perform public investigation and render legal assistance.
Viktor Lipatov informed that during the mass event a law-enforcement officer (it is not known whether he was with the Ministry of the Interior or Rosgvardiya), hit him several times with a rubber truncheon: “I slipped when I saw that my head was being hit with a rubber truncheon. My head was hit in the area of the forehead, and I was taken by surprise and bite through my tongue and lips, and my nose bled. I said something aloud and started to fall on my right side because I was passing out. Before I fell I managed to put forward my right arm to keep balance. The second blow of the police truncheon was at this right hand of mine”.
Medical ambulance took Lipatov to the Sklifosovskiy Hospital where he was diagnosed with: “Contused head wound. Closed fracture of the lower third of the right elbow bone without dislocation”.
Maria Isayeva told that OMON officers hit the protesters with rubber truncheons chaotically, and having seized some of them, took them to the police buses: “Suddenly I was hit in the right part of my head. OMON officers, standing in a chain right next to the chain of protesters, were hitting them with rubber truncheons. I tried to hide my head and lowered it down, but I was also hit several times (two or three) at the right and the left side of the top part of my head. I did not see the face of the OMON officer who was hitting me, as it was covered with a mask and a hard hat. I felt sharp pain in the area where I was hit in the head, and felt strong burning after the last hit, OMON officers were hitting with rubber truncheons straight from the shoulder”.
Medical ambulance hospitalized Isayeva at the Clinical Hospital named after Botkin. Maria was diagnosed with: “Contused wound of the right parietal region. Contusion of the right wrist joint”.
Vasily Surov reported on the use of violence against him by police officers when he was already detained:
“At the police van the police officers made me stand in a stretching position, i.e. facing the van, with the palms of my raised hands pressed against the van, feet spread to the maximum. At that moment I was hit two times at the inner sides of my feet in the area of the ankles, making me spread my feet. It was rather humiliating to have been treated like that, as I did not give any grounds for that. After that I heard a phrase behind my back “Take off your bagpack”, but fumbled for a couple seconds. Suddenly some officer behind sharply and strongly pressed at the back of my head and I hit myself with a left side of my face against the van and felt sharp physical pain in the area of the left brow and at the same time realized that the left temple of my glasses is broken”.
Surov was taken by the ambulance to Hospital No.1 named after Pirogov were he was diagnosed with open would of the eyelid and periocular area, bruise of the brow, hematoma of the left eyelids.
Igor Randelia told about his brutal apprehension by the police officers: “I was seized by my coat (which was torn, eventually) by three police officers, they hit me from behind, most likely, with a rubber truncheon, and I fell with my face down and passed out for a few seconds. They continued to beat me up with arms and feet on my face so that I came to my senses, I was hit about five times. The faces of police officers who were hitting me, were covered with balaclava masks. What befell me caused a strong feeling of insult, as I could not understand why the police was so brutal. They were dragging me along the ground, then I came to my senses and started to walk myself, but they were holding me by the hands. I was taken to the police van and pushed inside”.
After the examination at the police department by ambulance medics, Igor was hospitalized at the Ambulance Clinic named after Sklifosovskiy, where he was diagnosed with contusions of soft tissues of the head.
Stanislav Milyakov also described the cases of ungrounded use of violence by law-enforcement officers after detention: “Two police officers in dark uniform without insignia seized me by my shoulder and arms, having given me a sliding blow in the face, and pulled me towards them. During this my left ear lobe was injured, this ear was gauged and the gauge got torn out with flesh. One or two more police officers came by and held me by the legs. They were carrying me over to the buses, and the police officers who were upfront, were hitting my body with their knees and rubber truncheons. I don’t remember the precise number of hits. I was taken to the buses and set loose, I fell on the asphalt covered with a mass of snow. The police officers started to kick my right foot in the area of the lower thigh, shouting “hands on the van”, I said “What for? I did not do anything”. I don’t remember the exact number of blows, but there were more than two and less than ten. This lasted for no more than five minutes. Suddenly, hitting stopped, I was lifted from the asphalt and handed over to the police officer who was inside the van”.
At the first aid station Milyakov was diagnosed with a contusion of the right lower thigh, tension of ligaments of the right joint, contusion of the ear lobe.
Ilya Kolomenskiy also described a brutal apprehension: “I was seized by the hood of my coat in such a way that it blocked my vision. Then I felt blows on my body. Then I heard my coat was cracking at the seams and realized I have to take it off if I want to get out. I found myself on the ground and was lying for about 40 seconds, not more than a minute, after that I attempted to stand up. I don’t remember what was happening at that moment. Maybe someone walked over me. I was in disarray because I was in helpless state before authorities”.
At the first aid station Kolomenskiy was diagnosed with an extravasation of the right shoulder and a bruise of the back.
All the indicated facts are described in the crime report submitted to the Investigative Committee and supported by available medical records, photos, explanations of the apprehended as well as of the witnesses.
However, despite the requirements of the law and departmental instructions, officers of the department for investigating the crimes committed by law-enforcement officers with the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Moscow registered all the crime reports as citizens’ applications (for which pre-investigative checks are not mandatory, let alone a full-fledged investigation). Thus, the Investigative Committee will not investigate the complaints of the Moscow protest rally participants who complained of illegal violence applied against them by the police and Rosgvardiya officers.
“Now we see how thoroughly and scrupulously the Investigative Committee processes the information on violence committed against the police and Rosgvardiya officers, – Acting Head of the Moscow branch of the Committee Against Torture Oleg Khabibrakhmanov comments. – But information on violence applied against common citizens does not spark their interest. This reminds the procedural story of the applications of the victims at summer protests of 2019. At that time, the Investigative Committee restrained from performing checks, having transferred all the applications to different departments: to Chief Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia for Moscow and to the Department of Internal Security of Rosgvardiya for Moscow. That is, precisely to the bodies the officers of which the applicants accused of crimes”.
The Committee Against Torture is hoping to find the witnesses of the violence applied against the heroes of our publication and asks them to write to email email@example.com