Vladimir Smirnov: "The case will be long. But none of the good things ever happened fast”


18 August 2017

Lawyer with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Vladimir Smirnov sums up the intermediate results for the case of Kristina Morozova from Nizhny Novgorod and shares his forecasts on its prospects. As we have previously reported, the police officers applied brutal force against her during the personal search, when she refused to take off her underwear in the presence of men. Subsequently Kristina was diagnosed with closed   craniocerebral injury, benign brain contusion,  yoke-bone fissure-fracture, fracture of the wing of sphenoid bone on the left.

(Photo: Kristina Morozova)

Vladimir Smirnov: “Our friends ask to sum up the intermediate results in the case of Kristina Morozova, a young woman from Kstovo with a dog, who was taken to the police in autumn of last year and her bra was cut off from her there.  

Since there is no final result of this case in sight, let us sum up the intermediate ones.

– The events related to Kristina’s apprehension happened in the beginning of September 2016. 

– The criminal case on exceeding the official authority by the police officers was initiated only in January 2017.  

– The criminal case is initiated against “unidentified officers”, although from the very start Kristina Morozova named all the police officers precisely, using name and surname.

– The investigation is going on till now, and it is not clear when the final decision will be taken.

In the end of June, I was questioned as a witness for this case, in which at that moment I was involved as the victim’s representative. To my question where there was the legal sense in that, the investigator could only refer to his superiors. It appeared as if he did not see this sense himself, but realized that it should be done.  

As a result, if we follow the criminal and procedural legislation, formally I cannot be a representative in this case after that. The Investigative Department officers, of course, have nothing against it, and tell me: “Participate, Vladimir Vladimirovich, no one minds!” But we all perfectly realize that the law is the law. If you become a witness you cease to be the victim’s representative. More than that, the police officers’ defense lawyer may complain about it at any time.  

That is why I started to complain in order to get back to the proceedings as soon as possible. I complained to the Prosecutor of Kiev and to the court.  

Our Moscow colleague Anastasia Garina has recently concisely described  recently what it means to complain to the Prosecutor in our country. No sense to write about it further, the ending was rather foreseeable from the very start.  

It was far more interesting at court. I wrote a 6-pages complaint! Saying that a representative cannot be interrogated, the Constitutional Court of the RF is against it, and the 8th Congress of the UN objected to this 27 years back. That is why this investigative action is just a little bit illegal.  следственное действие немножечко незаконно.

At the Kstovsky City Court all my arguments were attentively listened to (no) and immediately shelved, on the very day when they were received. Alledgedy, the investigator is an independent person from the procedural point of view and we cannot decide beforehand whom he can interrogate and whom he cannot.  That is why we won’t even consider your petty complaint, let alone satisfy it, Signature, date, registry’s stamp.

Well, you understand. We have a holiday season here, and, after all, there are many like you, and the country’s justice is one. 

Of course, one cannot agree to that. In Article 125 of the Criminal Procedural Code it is said in black and white that the court is obliged to check the legality of any actions of the investigator. Neither the Criminal Procedural Code nor the Supreme Court make any exceptions for such investigative action as interrogation. Otherwise it appears that if court, allegedly, is not entitled to predetermine something, it would also mean that an illegal search cannot be appealed against. They can come at night with no documents, turn the apartment upside down and the Kstovsky City Court would applaud to that? 

Certainly, not. However, the Regional Appellate Court was quite satisfied with the resolution from Kstovo. 15 minutes’ court hearing, standard muttering of the Prosecutor, resolution – applause to the Kstovsky court, it was right not to consider it, the complaint should be dismissed.  

Naturally, I’ll go to the court of cassation. The holiday period in the judicial agencies should be over sooner or later, the court’s long robes cannot have the eternal siesta.

Meanwhile, time goes by. Soon it will be a year since that confused evening when Kristina together with her dog found herself at the Kstovo Department of Internal Affairs. It’s almost 9 months that the case against the unidentified officers has been under investigation, and the prospect of its completion is nowhere in sight so far.  

But I see it! Do you know how it will come about? The case against some unidentified officers will be routinely dragging, during this time several more “witnesses” will be questioned – the ones who support Kristina, the Committee’s members and other “distant relatives”, who cannot know anything as witnesses, but the superiors ordered that is should be done. It’s too late now to question the dog, although, otherwise it would have been questioned too, probably.

Then the case will be dismissed and shelved in the Investigative Committee’s archive. In a few years’ time some European Court will award the undressed and humiliated woman a few thousand rubles of compensation from the federal budget of Russia, and all the running about and investigating will start anew at the Investigative Committee, in the “Whodunnit?” style. Of course, the investigator will be picked as a scapegoat.
The investigator himself by that time will be a head of some department, because, generally, he is not a stupid man. Another alternative – he’ll retire from the service and will be doing something else – for the same reason.  

And everything will start anew. The are many banal examples when everything developed according exactly according to this scenario – the Kramchaninov case, which was not even opened for 7 years, and now suddenly everything is spinning. And, of course, memorable Novoselov, who back in 2004 complained that he was taken to the woods and threatened with chopping off his foot, and recently the stars were right, and on 2 August 2017 unexpectedly the criminal case was opened.

And all this Russian reversal and stepping on the same rake at the expense of the federal budget will keep happening over and over again until the state learns to look after the money, at last, and the King’s men – learn to read legal documents and the fact that twice two is four. These are the intermediate results of the Morozova case as well as of the political and moral state of the King’s men in Russia of the XXI century.

Follow the case of Kristina, don’t abandon her! The case will be long, but none of the good things happened fast here”.

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