Who is to pay compensation for death at the hands of drunk Bashkirian policeman


27 September 2013

For more than a year the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Interior of the Bashkortostan Republic have been arguing over the matter which of them is to pay compensation to Tatiana Ivanova. She is the widow of Albert Mukhametzakirov, a teacher of Russian and Literature, who was in 2010 murdered by a drunk policeman, Vladimir Simukhin. On 26 September 2013 the Kirovskiy District Court of Ufa city ordered the regional directorate of the external guards of the Ministry of the Interior of the Bashkortostan Republic to pay the plaintiff 500 thousand rubles in compensation of moral damage.

(Photo: Albert Mukhametzakirov)

At the beginning of May 2010 a woman leaving in Ufa, Tatiana Ivanova, applied to the INGO «Committee Against Torture» complaining that her husband had been killed, allegedly by police officer Vladislav Simukhin.

Human rights defenders in the course of their public investigation made the following findings. On 1 May 2010 Vladislav Simukhin was in a state of alcoholic inebriation. He received a service pistol and, instead of starting his shift, drank some more vodka and went to Ufa having the service pistol and his police uniform with him. There he continued «having fun» together with some acquaintances of his. The next day at about 1:40 pm the police officer, being considerably drunk, came over to a car with Albert Mukhametzakirov behind the wheel. The men agreed that Albert would take the policeman to Demskiy district of Ufa city.

In the car Mr Simukhin paid for the ride and they started off. On the way there occurred an argument between the driver and the passenger (alcohol must have done its part) which resulted in a tragedy – the law enforcement agent shot the teacher in the head, and fled the scene. Mr Mukhametzakirov died from the wound.

On 7 May 2010 Vladislav Simukhin surrendered and gave a confession statement. On 14 May 2010 he was charged with this crime, and the case was referred to the Kirovskiy District Court of Ufa city. Before court the policeman maintained that he had committed the crime by negligence, but the court took the victims’ side and held that Vladislav Simukhin is guilty of the crime under Article 105 (1) of Russian Criminal Code (intentional causing the death to another person) and sentenced him to 10 years of imprisonment to be served in a maximum security penal colony.

On 1 October 2012 the Leninskiy District Court of Ufa city delivered judgment awarding to Tatiana Ivanova compensation of moral damage in the amount of 800 thousand rubles. Nevertheless, on 14 March 2013 the High Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan delivered an unexpected appellate decision which dismissed the plaintiff’s claims for compensation. The bench of High Court judges must have wished to save money for the State, and concluded that the State bears no responsibility for  murder committed by a law enforcement officer armed with a service pistol.

Lawyers of the Committee Against Torture who represented Mrs Ivanova’s interests could not agree to this reasoning, and filed a claim for compensation against the External Guards Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior for the Republic of Bashkortostan, which is a state institution. Considering that firearms pose a serious danger to the general public, the owner of this source is to be responsible for any damage, and the owner is the regional external guards directorate.

In the end, on 26 September 2013 the Kirovskiy District Court of Ufa granted the claim for compensation, but only partially. It ordered the defendant to pay 500 thousand rubles compensation. The plaintiff demanded 1 million rubles.

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