Today, on 24 March 2015, lawyers of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Anna Vorobyeva from Dzerzhinsk (Nizhny Novgorod region). Human rights defenders think that the Russian Federation violated several articles of the European Human Rights Convention – «Prohibition of torture» and «Right to an effective remedy».
(Source of photo: echr.coe.int)
Anna Vorobyeva applied to Nizhny Novgorod department of the Interregional Non-governmental organization «The Committee Against Torture» on 3 October 2013 for legal assistance. According to the applicant, on 27 May 2013 she called the police with regards to a conflict with a neighbour, who was throwing stones in her window and was trying to force himself through her door. However, upon the arrival of law-enforcement officer she herself was taken to police center No.4 when, as Vorobyeva recalls, one of the officers promised to frame her in the case of money theft, following his promise by a threat that she would bitterly regret that she wrote a complaint against the district police officer.
According to Anna, she was literally dragged into police center No.4 and one of the police officers at first kicked her against her buttocks and then hit her in the nasal area, after that the officers violently pulled her shoulders, as a result she fell on the asphalt and damaged her head.
In the police center Vorobyeva was questioned about some money theft and having provided the answer that she was not involved, she was released. Right after that Anna applied to injury care center where she was rendered medical assistance, as well as her different injuries of the nazal bridge and parietal region were registered. On the next day Vorobyeva passed medical examination and the course of which numerous injuries, abrasions, and bruising all over her body. In addition, on 28 May she applied to Dzerzhinsk Investigating department under the Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of Russia for Nizhny Novgorod region with a crime report.
A little less than a month later, on 24 June, investigator Veren’ko issued a refusal to initiate criminal proceedings. And on the same day a criminal case against Vorobyeva was opened under part 1 of Article 318 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code («Use of force against a public officer») and part 3 of Article 306 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code («Deliberately misleading accusation»).
Despite medical examination data and witnesses’ testimonies, as well as the fact that Anna passed psychophysiological study with the use of polygraph detector which confirmed that her evidence was true, the investigator three times issued refusals to initiate criminal proceedings against a police officer, two of them were appealed against by lawyers of the Committee Against Torture and were declared illegal.
As to the case initiated against Vorobyeva, on 9 June 2014 she was declared guilty of both the charges, and she was sentenced to two years conditionally. On 22 September of the same year the verdict for Vorobyeva in the part of conviction under part 3 of Article 306 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code («Deliberately misleading accusation») was quashed, and the rest of it remained without change.
Having failed to find remedy for Anna Vorobyeva at the national level human rights defenders of the Committee Against Torture who represent her interests, have lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.
«Apart from obvious responsibility of the state to explain the nature of the bodily injuries which the applicant developed during the period of her detention, the Russian Federation authorities also should have conducted a thorough investigation of her complaint against a police officer, – the Committee Against Torture’s consultant on international law Ekaterina Vanslova emphasizes. – Instead of this the woman became a defendant charged with two crimes. Her version of the incident supported with witness’s statements and medical documents was ignored by the investigative authorities as well as by the national courts».
«The version of the police officers of the events which took place on 27 May 2013 still raises a number of questions: For example, why was Vorobyeva released from the police center without having given any explanations about the allegedly unlawful actions against the police officer, – the Committee Against Torture lawyer Evgeny Chilikov continues. – What is the reason for not drawing up the appropriate documents signed by Vorobyeva regarding the fact of her inflicting “bodily injuries and physical pain” to the police officer were never drawn up? And finally, why was the detention report never drawn up? Now, unfortunately, it is European judges who will have to answer these questions, as well as some others, too».