On 20 January 2014 Yoshkar-Ola city resident Vladimir Ott applied to the local regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» and the human rights organization «Man and Law». The man complained that he had been beaten up by policemen and servicemen of a private security company.
(Photo: Vladimir Ott)
According to Vladimir, in the evening of January 10, 2014 he left home to meet his mother from work. He was waiting for her near a local cafe, when a «Chevrolet Niva» with a «security» sign drove over. Two men in uniform stepped out and, without explaining themselves, started twisting his arms. Mr Ott tried his best to explain that he has disability status (group three according to Russian scale) due to his hearing and speech disorders, but that made no difference – the servicemen began hitting his legs, evidently in order to knock him down on the ground.
Mr Ott remembers that he manged to break free for a while, but was soon caught again. The servicemen were first beating him right there, and then dragged to a household products store to continue beating. Eventually a police car stopped nearby, and several police officers stepped out and pushed Vladimir into the back seat. One of the officers sat near Vladimir, twisted his arm, pushed his head down, and hit him several times on his knees. Vladimir did not know what was wanted from him, for he had dropped his hearing aid while being beaten in the street.
Mr Ott was brought to Police Department no. 3 (Zarechny District Department of the Interior for Yoshkar-Ola city). The young man maintains that he didn’t hear the police officers’ demands, and didn’t understand what they wanted from him. He was given a piece of paper, on which he wrote his name, date of birth and home phone number. Then he was photographed and taken to a room on the third floor. There a policeman gave him something to sign. Vladimir felt threatened, so he signed the paper. Eventually he was led out of the department, and he went home.
After that Vladimir’s mother accompanied him to a trauma center, where a doctor observed and recorded the following injuries: bruises on soft tissue of his head; cervical spine strain and contusion; bruises on the right shoulder, right hand and right thigh.
Following Mr Ott’s application, lawyers working with Mari El regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» together with their colleagues from the regional NGO «Man and Law» have initiated a public investigation.
The Zarechny Department of the Interior is one of notorious police departments of the Republic of Mari El. In the winter of 2001, when the temperature was 25 C below zero, police officers from this very department in the dead of night took Boris Rzhavin out of his bed and dragged him almost naked through the street into their car. Later, when the European Court of Human Rights was examining this case, Russian Government admitted a violation of the European Convention, and paid the victim EUR 12 000 as compensation. In 2004, in the same department, Dmitriy Likhachev was beaten to death, and two minors were subjected to torture. After that three officers were convicted, and the Ministry of Finance paid compensations in the total amount of RUB 320 000. In 2007 policemen of this department tortured Ivan Kozlov to make him confess to a murder of a girl. In this case four officers were convicted, and the Ministry of Finance had to pay RUB 250 000 to the victim.