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Criminal case on torture of four residents of Anapa is resumed for the seventh time

News

26 March 2020

Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture successfully insisted that the criminal case on tortures of four residents of Anapa at the police department in December 2015 is resumed. As we have previously reported, this case was initiated two years after the incident and eleven refusals to open a criminal case. Since the start of investigation, no suspect appeared in the case, the investigators illegally dismissed it three times and illegally suspended it three times. Now, new investigator Philipp Shevrikuko is assigned for the case, who is known to human rights defenders and the prosecutors as the investigator who previously illegally dismissed another torture case.

As we have previously reported, in May 2017, Artem Ponomarchuk, Aram Arustamyan, Karen and Erik Engoyan, citizens from Anapa, applied to human rights defenders for legal assistance. The men reported that they were apprehended at various time in the period from 24-25 December 2015 – allegedly, all four of them refused to show their IDs. Later on, the protocols on administrative violation were drawn up with regard to all the apprehended persons, and on 26 December judge of the Anapa City Court Elena Kravtsova convicted everyone to 12 days of administrative arrest.

– Right after I was delivered to the police department the battery started, and then they started to apply electricity to my hands, and when I refused to confess of armed assault they put a stick in my rectum, – Artem Ponomarchuk describes.

Karen Engoyan tells about similar tortures: “The police officers handcuffed me, put me face down on the floor, put on the gas mask on me, periodically blocking the air access. They beat me at my heels, applied electric contacts to my hands, feet, buttocks, demanding that I confessed of armed assault. When I fainted, they dripped some liquid in my gas mask which made me regain consciousness. The police officers threatened me with a sexual violence with the use of an object looking like a stick. After that I yielded and signed the confession”.

Aram Arustamyan and Erik Engoyan provided similar explanations. As a result, all the apprehended persons confessed of armed assault.

Local forensic expert Emanuil Kopp registered various bodily injuries on all the four apprehended, including injuries on the bodies of Karen Engoyan and Artem Ponomarchuk, “which possibly became the result of the electricity impact”.

The Investigative Committee, which authority involves investigation of criminal cases with regard to the police officers, had not opened the criminal case based on the fact of torture for almost two years. Only in November 2017, after the victims’ relatives together with lawyers with the Committee Against Torture had a personal appointment with a Deputy Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia Boris Karnaukhov, and complained against the red tape of local investigators, the criminal case was opened.

Investigation of the case was assigned to another Investigative Committee officer — investigator of second department for major cases Roman Stain, four applicants were declared victims, and lawyers with the Committee Against Torture were accepted in the case as their representatives.

During investigation, not a single suspect appeared in the case, and the work of the investigators since the start of the tortures complaints’ check has been repeatedly declared ineffective by the Prosecutor’s Office and the superior instances of the Investigative Committee.

Since November 2017 till the present time, the investigators illegally dismissed this case three times and three more times illegally suspended it. The last time the case was suspended on 29 November 2019 – according to investigator Stain, this ruling was based on absence of information about the guilty persons, as well as on the fact that all possible investigative activities were performed.  

Today, human rights defenders received a response from the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee of the RF for the North Caucasus Federal District, stating that the preliminary investigation of this case was resumed on 10 March 2020 due to “start of repeated comprehensive medical forensic expert examinations”. New investigator Philipp Shevrikuko is assigned for the case.  

«We don’t expect anything good from Mr Shevrikuko – he is known both to us and to the prosecutors through Evgeny Bounin torture case, when he failed to perform at least thirteen necessary investigative activities and illegally dismissed the criminal case, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Roman Veretennikov, representing the interests of the victims in the criminal case, comments. – For us it is clear that it will be impossible to get this case going at the regional level, that is why we will apply all possible efforts that the case is investigated at the federal level”.