A pensioner from Nizhny Novgorod was battered by the police when trying to file an application

Событие | Пресс центр

24 февраля 2009

Mr. Semyonov from Nizhny Novgorod applied to the Committee against Torture and told them how his visit to the law enforcement body ended up. 

   On 5 march 2008 Mr. Semyonov went to the Usilovskiy police station of the Nizhegorodskiy district Directorate of the Interior, Nizhny Novgorod, in order to inform the police that some young men often gathered on the staircase landing near his flat, drank alcohol and cursed, thus disturbing the public order.    At the police station Mr. Semyonov addressed the duty officer, but the latter rejected the application without explaining the reason. Semyonov stated that he would complain to higher-standing authorities. The duty officer took the old man to a room where there was one more policeman. Mr. Semyonov is a very persistent person who knows his rights, and, according to his words, “he is not used to being afraid of the police.” He insisted on filing the application and repeatedly expressed his intention to complain about the denial. The reaction of the police to the pensioner’s lawful claims was rather surprising, to put it mildly, and,by the way, in breach of the rules set forth in the new ethical code for law enforcement staff. The police fixed Mr. Semyonov’s hands behind his back and hit him several times in the stomach. After that the brave officers thrust the old man on the floor. Only when another officer entered the room, the battery stopped and Mr. Semyonov could leave the police station. The beatings resulted in a huge bruise on his stomach. In a couple of days the old man felt worse and went to hospital. His diagnosis read: blunt trauma of the front stomach area, abdominal aneurism. Besides, his heart trouble aggravated. In April 2008 Mr. Semyonov underwent two surgeries and in May 2008 he was discharged from hospital. On 23 May 2008 Mr. Semyonov filed an application addressed to the head of the Nizhegorodskiy district Directorate of the Interior complaining about police abuse.  The application is being checked; however there have been several refusals to open a criminal case. The check is being conducted and decisions are taken by a district police officer, which is absolutely unacceptable according to the relevant legislation.   

Under the Criminal Procedure Code and departmental regulations, allegations of police abuse are to be checked by workers of the Investigation Committee under the RF Prosecutor’s Office.  Having received an application, the authorities should send it to the relevant body with the corresponding jurisdiction. However, nothing like that has happened. According to the departmental regulations of the RF Prosecutor’s Office, the district prosecutor should supervise the activities of preliminary investigation bodies connected to receiving and checking applications. In this case there has been no supervision. Moreover, all refusals to initiate criminal proceedings issues by the district police officer were submitted to the prosecutor’s office in the order of supervision, but instead of filing the materials to the relevant investigation body, the prosecutor’s office returned them to the Nizhegorodskiy district Directorate of the Interior for an additional check. Therefore, on 29 January 2008 the Committee against Torture representing Mr. Semyonov complained about inaction of the Nizhegorodskiy district prosecutor to the regional Prosecutor’s Office. Judging by the reply of the regional Prosecutor’s Office, the complaint was submitted for consideration to the Nizhegorodskiy district prosecutor, i.e. to the person whose unlawful inaction was in question. Article 10 of the Federal Law “On Public prosecution of the Russian Federation” prohibits sending complaints to the body or official whose actions are contested.

Specialists of the Committee against Torture have complained about unlawful actions of the Nizhny Novgorod regional Prosecutor’s Office to the Sovietskiy district court. The court hearing is scheduled for 24 February 2009. Pensioner Semyonov from Nizhny Novgorod has experienced the adverse side of “communication” with law enforcement agents. Now Victor Semyonov hopes that his rights will be restored and he will hardly ever rely on the Nizhny Novgorod police again.