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The court in Bashkiria upheld the soft verdict of the Neftekamsk police officers convicted for electricity torture

News

23 June 2020

Today, on 23 June 2020, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan upheld a ruling of the first instance with regard to terms of sentence of ex-head of the Criminal Investigations of the Neftekamsk police Ilvir Sagitov and his subordinate, Senior Investigative Officer Radim Khairullin, who previously were declared guilty of the battery and electricity torture of apprehended Vener Mardamshin and sentenced to three years and three months of jail time each. Today, the court only satisfied the application of the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture in the part of stripping the convicts from special ranks: Sagitov was stripped of lieutenant colonel rank, and Khairullin was stripped of the first lieutenant rank.

The background of this story is as follows. On 22 November 2016, Vener Mardamshin applied to the Committee for the Prevention of Tortures asking for legal assistance. He said that on 10 November 2016 he was captured by four men; they handcuffed his hands, put a plastic bag on his head, pushed into the car and drove him away in the unknown direction. According to Vener, it turned out later that those were the policemen who took him to the local police department. After that they started beating him using truncheons and an electric shocker forcing him to confess to kidnapping of a woman. But the policemen’s attempts to get a confession to the committed crime from Vener were unsuccessful and they released him after taking an explanatory statement from him where he stated that he had been drinking alcohol with friends and had no claims to the policemen.

According to Mardamshin, an acquaintance of him helped him to get home. Vener’s wife called an ambulance, and the man was taken to the hospital in Neftekamsk, where he was receiving treatment until 21 November, and then was transferred to the hospital of Ufa. Totally, Mardamshin spent twenty-seven days receiving hospital treatment. The doctors of Neftekamsk hospital registered the following diagnosis in the discharge summary of the sick person: “Concomitant injury, closed craniocerebral injury. Brain concussion. Concussion of cervical vertebrae. Closed compression fracture of the body of vertebra L1. Closed (old?) fracture of L1 spine vertebra on the right. Concussion of the left side of the pelvis. Both kidneys contusion. Gross hematuria. Numerous concussions, bruises, scratch marks and pinpoint wounds of the soft tissues of the head, body, upper and lower limbs. Post-traumatic ischemic neuropathy of radial nerve of the left forearm. Post-traumatic ischemic neuropathy of the fibular nerve of the left lower leg”.

On 28 December 2016, the first person accused of the crime under items "a, b" of Part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation («abuse of office using violence and special equipment») appeared in this case - Head of the Criminal Investigation of the Neftekamsk police Ilvir Sagitov. On 25 July 2017 his subordinate became the second accused under the same article – Senior Investigative Officer of the Department for Crimes Against Property of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Department of the Interior for Neftekamsk Radim Khairullin.

Examination of the criminal case against Ilvir Sagitov and Radim Khairullin started on 1 November 2017 at the Neftekamsk City Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan. In the framework of judicial investigation 15 court hearings were conducted, during which about 40 witnesses were questioned. In the course of judicial investigation, the defendants did not acknowledge their guilt.

On 4 June 2018, the judge of the Neftekamsk City Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan Ibgrabim Dautov declared Ilvir Sagitov and Radim Khairullin to be not involved in the commitment of the incriminated crime.

The court established that Vener Mardamshin was indeed inflicted the bodily injuries indicated in the expert examinations. At the same time, the court deemed that non-involvement of the defendant police officers is confirmed by the evidence of their relatives and colleagues as well as by their call details. With regard to this, judge Dautov passed a ruling to return the criminal case back to the Investigative Committee for resuming the investigation and identification of the culprits. Ilvir Sagitov was released in the court room, travel restrictions were lifted from Radim Khairullin.

State Prosecutor, human rights defenders and defense lawyer of Vener Mardamshin did not agree with the verdict of not guilty and appealed against it at the appeals instance, considering that the guilt of the defendants was fully proven and the court of the first instance passed the ruling wrongly interpreting the prosecution evidence.

On 4 September 2018, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan reviewed the appellate appeals of all the parties of the prosecution and passed a ruling to quash the verdict of not guilty with regard to Ilvir Sagitov and Radim Khairullin and submit the criminal case for new examination to a different judge to the Neftekamsk City Court. In addition, the court imposed travel restrictions on the defendants.

The repeated examination of the criminal case with regard to Ilvir Sagitov and Radim Khairullin started on 22 January 2019 at the Yanaulsky District Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan. In the framework of the judicial investigation, 28 court hearings were conducted, where 50 witnesses were interrogated. During the judicial investigation, the defendants did not acknowledge their guilt.

On 11 November 2019, during the oral arguments, prosecutor of the Yanaulsky District Azat Zulkarnayev deemed the guilt of the defendants of the charged crime to be proven and requested the court to sentence Sagitov to eight years of prison term, and Khairullin – to seven and a half. Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Evgeny Litvinov, representing the interests of victim Vener Mardamshin, asked the court to sentence the defendants to 10 years of prison term each, as well as to strip the defendants of the special ranks and state decorations as the persons who discredited the service in the system of the Ministry of the Interior of Russia.

On 21 November 2019, judge of the Yanaulsky District Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan Yulia Dautova passed a ruling with regard to ex-head of the Criminal Investigations of the Neftekamsk police Ilvir Sagitov and his subordinate, Senior Investigative Officer Radim Khairullin. They were declared guilty of the battery and electricity torture of apprehended Vener Mardamshin in 2016. Both the defendants were sentenced to three years and three months of jail time, serving the sentence at the standard regime penal colony.

Both sides, the prosecution and defense, appealed against the verdict.

The state prosecutor, human rights defenders and Mardamshin’s defense lawyer pointed out that the defendants’ guilt was fully proven during the court examination, however, the court passed too mild a sentence, and it must be more severe, as well as to strip the defendants of special ranks and state decorations. Defense lawyers of the police officers pointed out in their applications that the court of the first instance passed a ruling interpreting the prosecution and defense evidence in a wrong way, and that the verdict must be quashed and the criminal case should be submitted for repeated examination with a different court composition.

Today, these appellate appeals were reviewed at the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan. Having listened to the arguments of the parties, the court retired to the jury room, after that it passed the ruling to upheld the terms of sentence to which the convicts were sentenced to by the court of the first instance. However, the court stripped the former police officers of their ranks: Sagitov was stripped of lieutenant colonel rank, and Khairullin was stripped of the first lieutenant rank.

“Of course, we welcome additional punishment in the form of stripping the convicts from the special ranks, however, we still think that the main punishment does not correspond to the gravity of the crime committed, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Evgeny Litvinov, representing the interests of Vener Mardamshin in court, comments. – After we consult with the victim we shall decide on the possible appealing against the verdict”.