Widow of a teacher from Ufa killed by a drunk policeman in 2010 will at last receive compensation


03 December 2013

Today, on 3 December 2013, the Supreme Court of the Bashkortostan Republic upheld the decision by the Kirovskiy District Court of Ufa, which ruled that the External Guards Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior for the Republic of Bashkortostan is to pay Tatiana Ivanova 500 thousand rubles in respect of moral damage. Her husband Albert Mukhametzakirov was in 2010 killed by a drunk policeman. Now, human rights defenders are going to claim compensation in the interests of his children.

(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.

Both parties regarded the decision unjust and appealed against it. The complains were examined by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan on 3 December 2013. The court heard all the arguments submitted by the parties, and after a short time in the retiring room the judges passed their decision to uphold the one by the Kirovskiy District Court of Ufa city.

A lawyer working with the regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» in Bashkortostan, Ayrat Davletshin, comments on the decision: «At last the «argument» between the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of the Interior of Bashkortostan is over. For more than a year they have been shifting on each other the obligation to pay compensation to the widow of the teacher killed by a drunk police officer. We are happy with the fact that court has agreed with the legal arguments we submitted claiming for compensation. However, we still believe the damage to be underestimated. Now we are going to claim for compensation in the interests of Albert Mukhamedzakirov’s two children, who are as well victims».

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