Lawyers of Nizhny Novgorod office of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» learned that Aleksandr Kabanov from Nizhny Novgorod who previously accused the police of battery and crime frame up, withdrew his testimony. According to human rights defenders, he received monetary compensation for that. Lawyers of Nizhny Novgorod office of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» submitted a crime report to the Investigative Committee.
(Photo: Aleksandr Kabanov)
As we have previously reported, on 24 December 2014 Aleksandr Kabanov from Nizhny Novgorod applied to Nizhny Novgorod office of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» for legal assistance. He told the human right defenders that he was beaten up by the police officers who were forcing him to confess of pawnshop robbery, and framed up an administrative offence case against him.
According to Aleksandr, on 26 November 2014 the police officers took him away from his work (he is an electric and gas welder in SK 52, LLC), seized his mobile phone and transported to Kstovo police center, where with battery and threats they tried to make him confess of committing crime. As a result, as Kabanov explained, having failed to obtain a confession, the police officers wrote a detention report for disorderly conduct – according to it Aleksandr allegedly was in Zhdaniovsky settlement and was cursing aloud.
This is a rather typical plot for most cases in the practice of the Committee Against Torture.
However, in Janurary 2015 Aleksandr declined further assistance of the lawyers of the Committee. He explained that the police officers gave him some money so he changed his evidence and stated that he defamed the police officers in order to take revenge on them. The man also explained to the investigator that he agreed with the administrative detention since he indeed was cursing aloud in Zhdanovsky settlement, and received his traumas when he fell the day before that. Kabanov told the human rights defenders that he agreed to this deal because he didn’t have time to pursue justice and the police officers offered a simple and quick way to sort it out.
Lawyers of the Committee Against Torture had a chance to conduct a preliminary check of Aleksandr Kabakov initial statement before it was withdrawn, and we managed to find out that this statement is confirmed with a number of facts. For example, his colleagues state that prior to detention they did not see any bodily injuries on Aleksandr, and he did not complain about his health. They confirmed that the police officers took him away from work, which means that he could not physically be «cursing in Zhdanovsky settlement». In addition, a forensic expert confirmed that Aleksandr could receive bodily injuries in the circumstances which he described in his statement (i.e. tortures in the police center).
We think that Aleksandr Kabanov committed a crime when he changed his testimony in exchange for monetary compensation. Now the police officers will be able to avoid taking the responsibility established by the Criminal Code, they will continue their service in the internal affairs bodies and, possibly, next time will apply torture again. No signals about the “emergency” will be received in the system of the internal affairs, which means that probability of more statements on illegal violence from this department has increased. In addition, we would like to emphasize that a «reconciliatory» meeting of the police officer and the applicant took place, according to his own words, in the office of the investigator from the Investigative Committee who performed a check based on the complaint about the police officers abuse of office.
We would like to remind that the main objective of our organization is eradication of torture as well as inhuman or degrading treatment in law-enforcement agencies. We certainly aspire to restore the rights of our applicants and do it with exclusively lawful methods. However, our priority is public interest, not the interest of a specific applicant: we defend human dignity and law, not the material well-being of a victim of torture.
«I’d like to emphasize that abuse of office is classified as a public prosecution crime and criminal cases or pre-trial investigations based on application cannot be dismissed because of the settlement between the parties. It means that the arguments contained in the initial application of Aleksandr Kabanov should be thoroughly checked. In case if evidence of crime is collected (forensics data, witnesses evidence), criminal proceedings should be initiated, – head of investigation department of Nizhny Novgorod office of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Dmitry Utukin emphasizes. – We already submitted the crime report at the address of the head of the regional Investigative Committee asking him to check Aleksandr Kabanov actions as well as the Investigative Committee investigator’s actions for elements of crime against justice».