Three residents of the Krasnodar Territory applied to the Committee Against Torture with complaints to the Department of the Interior of Russia for the Gulkevichsky District. Two applicants claim that the police officers tortured them with boiling water by pouring it on different parts of the body. Previously, local resident Nikita Khatskevitch complained of tortures at the same police department; however, the criminal case with regard to his complaint has not been opened up to now – the investigator passes identical refusals, repeating word for word, having failed event to collect the records of the video surveillance cameras from the police department for two months.
In June 2019, residents of the Kurganinsky District of the Krasnodar Territory – married couple Olga Shvetsova and Valery Malakhov applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. They informed human rights defenders that the police officers of the Gulkevichsky Police Department beat them up in April 2018, while forcing them to sign a confession of murder of an old woman who used to dwell next door to them.
According to the applicants, on 14 April 2018, the investigative officers brought them from their home to the Gulkevichsky Police Department. There, according to Ms Shvetsova, the police officers intentionally smoked inside the office, which led to her suffocating, since she has asthma condition. They also hit her head with a thick book, hit her body with their hands, twisted her handcuffed arms, threatened that they will find drugs at her son’s place.
That’s what Valery Malakhov told about his stay at the police department: “I was told I should write a confession, and if I confess I’d get six years, and if not – fifteen. After I refused, some of the officers came up behind me and started to pour boiling water onto me: he poured on the top of my head, the water was flowing on the back of my head. It hurt a lot, and the police officers commented: “We are going to skin you alive now, you’ll be like Fantomas”.
The medical forensic examination report stated: “Valery Malakhov was incurred damage in the form of a thermal burn with a hot liquid of the occipital region and the neck of I and II degree of 1% of the surface of the body, an extravasation of the right thigh, which was generated from impact force of a solid blunt object”.
On the next day the married couple was released.
However, on 19 April, Olga Shevtsova was taken to the local police department again. There, according to her, the police officers beat her up again, forcing to confess: “The investigative officer took a big empty plastic bottle from a dispencer and started to hit me with it – my head, shoulders, my back. He made three or four blows, I started to dodge, the police officer said if I dodge, he’ll handcuff me”.
Olga Shvetova was taken in custody twice: on 21 April 2018 and on 2 July 2019. In the first case she was never charged and 10 days later she was released. And on 2 July 2019, she was detained, she was charged with murder. Now she is kept at the Pre-Trial Detention Center No.1 of Krasnodar. Olga never signed her confession.
After the incident, Olga and Valery submitted applications to the Prosecutor’s Office and the territorial Department of Federal Security Service, who, in their turn, readdressed these applications to the Gulkevichsky Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Krasnodar Territory, however, the married couple never received any feedback.
In July 2019, resident of the Gulkevichsky District Artem Danilov applied to the Committee Against Torture. He informed that on 16 May of this year the investigative officers beat him up, forcing to confess of incurring grave bodily harm to his cohabitant, which led to her death.
“They told me: “Come on, tell us how it happened”. I was standing next to the cupboard, I started to describe, they kept interrupting me, telling me I was lying. When I was standing next to the cupboard, the three of them started to hit my body… They made me lie on the floor, and started to hit my thighs. The police officer who was on the right, ordered that boiling water is poured on me. I asked them not to do it. But they started to pour hot water on the neck and both lower thighs. Before that they raised the trouser legs of my jeans. I did not see who exactly did it. It hurt a lot, I was in fear, terror, I started to tremble”, – that’s how Artem Danilov described his tortures.
As a result, Mr Danilov sighed a confession. At the present time he is charged with inflicting a grave bodily harm to his cohabitant, which resulted in her death. He is in custody.
Subsequently, according to the expert examination, Artem Danilov was diagnosed with the following bodily injuries: “Bruises of lateral surfaces of the rib cage, back surface of the right thigh, and external surface of the left thigh in the state of resorption (dispersion)”.
While in the Pre-Trial Detention Facility, Mr Danilov submitted a complaint against the actions of the police officers of the Gulkevichsky District, from where the complaint was redirected to the local Investigative Committee. On 28 June of this year, investigator of the Investigative Department for the Gulkevichsky District of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Krasnodar Territory Viktor Melnichenko refused to open a criminal case with regard to Danilov’s application.
Olga Shvetsova, Valery Malakhov and Artem Danilov are not the only ones who accuse the operational staff of the Gulkevichsky Police Department of tortures.
As we have previously reported, in March of this year, local resident Nikita Khatskevitch applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. He informed human rights defenders that the investigative officers of the Gulkevichsky Police Department were beating him up, forcing him to confess of a cable theft.
On 3 July of this year, investigator Viktor Melnichenko once again made a decision to refuse to open a criminal case. For the third time the investigator did not detect any elements of crime in the actions of the police officers. It should be pointed out that for two months Mr Melnichenko did not even seize the records of video surveillance cameras from the police department.
According to the investigator, the ruling refusing to open a criminal case was dismissed on the next day. At the present time the additional check is ongoing.
“We are convinced that for each of the four applications criminal cases should be opened: people, unknown to each other describe identical police officers, identical types of torture, sometimes, even identical phrases and threats, which the police officers pronounced. Three out of four applicants have bodily injuries registered, which they had not had before their interaction with the police officers, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Anna Kotsareva comments. – We will be insisting that the Krasnodar investigators deal with the investigation of all these applications, as no productive work is performed at the local level”.