Nizhny Novgorod resident Sergey Zakharov who was subjected to police abuse has applied to the Committee Against Torture for help.
According to Sergey, late at night on March 6, 2012, around 3 a.m. his car was stopped in Prospekt Lenina by two traffic police officers and a Special Police Task Force agent – it turned out that the traffic police together with the Special Police Task Force were conducting a preventive operation entitled “Bachus” targeted at revealing intoxicated drivers. The law enforcers fancied a smell of alcohol coming from the driver and asked him to breath into the “tube”. In his turn, Zakharov asked for tester certification documents, but the police did not even let him touch the papers, that is why he refused to pass the alcohol test. In order to resolve the situation, the driver proposed to go to hospital where he would pass a blood test, however, the law enforcers had a different idea: saying obscenities in respect of Zakharov, the traffic police officer twisted his arm behind his back and pressed him to the police car, the SPTF officer started wrenching Zakharov’s fingers to grab the cell phone which the applicant was using as a video recorder.
Unable to stand the pain, Sergey gave him the phone and the officer erased the video. After that the applicant was forced into the car and taken to police department no.3 in the Leninsky district where he was detained till afternoon, until his wife brought him his passport. He was not given a copy of any detention record.
On March 6 Sergey applied fist to the injury care centre of the 23rd Policlinic, and later to the 3rd City Clinical Hospital. Doctors documented the following injuries: right forearm contusion, right shoulder joint dislocation with ligaments sprain, dislocation of the left wrist with ligaments sprain. The examination conducted the same day in the Regional Narcology Dispensary did not reveal traces of alcohol or other intoxication.
We have filed crime reports with the Russian Investigative Committee and Internal Security Directorate of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Interior Ministry which are currently conducting a preliminary check.
CAT lawyer Alexey Matasov has commented on the situation as follows: “With a great degree of certainty we can speak about the following violations in respect of Sergey Zakharov: abuse of office, unlawful violence, unlawful deprivation of liberty. Perhaps, someone will find that this traffic conflict does not deserve attention and thorough investigation. Of course, this is not such a high-profile case as Nazarov, but human rights violations begin with this kind of episodes. Until such treatment is considered normal by law enforcers, the situation will not improve”.