Why do tortures continue in police and prisons


13 September 2018

Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Babinets tells why tortures continue in police and prisons, using an example of one statistically average case:

“On 31 August 2015, convict Voronov applied to us (the surname is changed). He told us that in July 2015, upon arrival to Penal Colony No.14 (the Nizhny Novgorod region, Sukhovobezvodnoye settlement) he was beaten up and subjected to violent actions of sexual nature by other convicts.

“One of the convicts started to swing his penis near my face, while the other tortured me, hitting my neck, Adam’s apple, pressed against the pain point behind my ears and pressed the bones of the lower jaw and tried to spread them apart with both his hands, – Voronov remembered the events of that day.– After that they untied my hands from feet, put a towel on the table, I was moved from the floor onto it. They closed my mouth and inserted something into my rectum”.

According to Voronov, torture lasted for about an hour. The executors wanted to know what evidence he provided to the investigator on his criminal case. After the torture ceased, Voronov was provided some cream (apparently, for treatment of his wounds) and told him that if someone learns about what happened he will be raped “for real”.
Traumas (including rectal traumas) were registered on Voronov only a month later, and in a civil hospital. Later on, from numerous evidence provided by the convicts, we learned that the “activists” were beating up the newcomers not at their own accord, but following the request from the penal colony administration.

Semenovsky Interdistrict Investigative Department surprisingly quickly started work on checking this episode – in August 2015. However, at that the investigative zeal, apparently, faded out.

One would think that the set of facts is there, witnesses can be found, medical documents are also available, the victim with fresh wounds is available, too, but… for three years the investigators only issued six refusals to initiate criminal proceedings.

In the end of last year the work of the investigators seemed unsatisfactory to the superiors of the regional Investigative Committee, either. At first, head of the department of the procedural control section, Aleksey Peresypin, gave order to acting head of Interdistrict Investigative Department Andrey Rotov to conduct a number of checking activities:

– additionally question the victim,
– interrogate witnesses and doctors,
– perform other activities…

And the most important and almost pleading – “Take a lawful, justified and motivated decision”.

It’s a lot of work (especially, taking into account the last item), but Deputy Head of the Investigative Department Ivan Chernyshov (who was conducting the check), decided that he does not take orders from Peresypin, and, having done nothing at all, he issued yet another “refusal”.

After three months, Acting Chief Investigator of the region Pavel Oleynik sent another order to Andrey Rotov, in which he demanded to eliminate the red tape and execute the order issued previously.

Oleynik was apparently dissatisfied with the work of his subordinates and stated (quote): “The material study shows that the check is performed formally, at low professional level, without all necessary checking and other procedural activities”.

Do you think that after such harsh criticism Chernyshov jumped out of his skin and started to issue requests, reports and rulings for expert examinations to be assigned?


Having failed to perform a SINGLE checking activity, Mr Chernyshov issued one more “refusal”.

I will tell you honestly – I have no idea why Chernyshov repeatedly and with impunity refuses to follow orders that he receives from superiors of the Investigative Department.
Today we decided to check whether there is any means to control him. Lawyer Svetlana Falkonskaya, representing the interests of the victim, and myself applied to the regional Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee with a request to take over the material based on complaint of convict Voronov, as well as conduct an internal check with regard to Rogov and his deputy, Chernyshov.

We have a lot of unanswered questions, but we hope to get answers from the Investigative Department after our application is reviewed:
– Is Chernyshov fit for the investigator’s work?
– Is the head of the Investigative Department satisfied with the work of investigator Chernyshov and his superior, Rotov?

This is only one episode from our routine work, but it demonstrates that when torture “investigations” are performed by such investigators, the torture will be thriving”.

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