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A nine-years’ long red tape during investigation of a torture complaint is not a reason for compensation

News

18 June 2019
Vladimir Prytkov

Today, on 18 June 2019, the Orenburg Regional Court quashed the ruling of the court of the first instance on collecting fifty thousand rubles from the Investigative Committee of Russia for the benefit of Vladimir Prytkov due to ineffective investigation of his complaint about his battery by the police officers in 2010. The lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, representing Prytkov’s interests, will be appealing against this ruling.

As we have previously reported, on 19 July 2010, Vladimir Prytkov from Orenburg applied to the regional branch of the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance – the man claimed that he was severely beaten up by the policemen from 2nd Operational Investigation Unit of the Orenburg Regional Directorate of the Interior.

As Vladimir told the human right defenders, on 19 May 2010 he was detained at work and delivered to the police department. There, according to Prytkov, he was beaten and tortured for about four hours with the purpose of making him confess that he together with his brother was involved in car theft, or to pay a bribe so that he would be only a witness in this case, unlike his brother. Having failed to obtain a confession from Vladimir, the police had to release him.

After such «conversation» with the representatives of the authorities Vladimir went straight to the city hospital No.1, and after his condition grew worse he was urgently hospitalized in the city clinical hospital named after N.I.Pirogov. The following diagnosis was established: «combined craniocerebral injury, brain contusion of medium severity, subarachnoid hemorrhage, contusions of soft tissues of the head, chest contusion, arterial hypertension of 1 and 2 degrees. Asthenoneurotic syndrome».

After he was released from the Pirogov hospital as an in-patient Vladimir was undergoing out-patient treatment in its outpatient clinic for three months.

On 28 June 2010, Prytkov submitted a crime report upon the fact of police abuse to investigative authorities, however for over a year the investigators failed to open a criminal case. Only on 16 November 2011 it was opened on the grounds of evidence of a crime under Article 286 (3) (a) of the Criminal Code of Russia (exceeding official powers with the use of violence).

Despite numerous motions for conducting investigating actions and complaints against inaction of the investigative authorities, submitted by the human rights defenders on behalf of Prytkov, the case was repeatedly dismissed on the grounds that no crime had been committed.

On 7 November 2014, as a result of investigative bodies’ obvious lack of desire to investigate a criminal case based on the fact of Vladimir Prytkov’s police torture, human rights defenders were forced to apply to the European Court of Human Rights.

Despite this, the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture continued their work on the case at national level, too. In December 2017, investigator Dmitry Gryazev at last satisfied human rights defenders’ motion and performed face-to-face confrontations between the victim and the operational personnel whom Mr Prytkov accuses of torture.

In the course of this investigative activity the police officers provided contradictory and inconsistent evidence. They failed to explain how the blood came about in their office, the blood which, according to expert examination, may belong to Mr Prytkov. This blood falls into rare fourth category with negative Rh factor, same as Prytkov’s blood.

In addition, the police officers also failed to explain why they took Vladimir Prytkov to the police department and which legal grounds they had for that, as well as why the young man who used to be in perfect health when he was delivered to the police department, developed numerous bodily injuries after communication with them.

However, investigator Dmitry Gryazev was satisfied with explanations of the police officers and in January 2018 passed another dismissal of the criminal case, which was quashed later. After that the investigator issued similar rulings several times, and they subsequently were declared illegal.

In total, starting from May 2010, the investigators issued eleven illegal rulings refusing to initiate criminal proceedings and nine illegal rulings on dismissal of the criminal case. In addition, in the course of the investigation the investigators managed to lose the samples of blood taken from the office of the investigative officers, where, according to Prytkov, he was tortured. At the present time, another ruling dismissing this criminal case is issued; its legality is being checked by the Prosecutor’s Office.

Due to the red tape and inefficient investigation of this criminal case, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted a lawsuit against the Investigative Committee on behalf of Vladimir Prytkov regarding the compensation for moral damage.

On 11 April 2019, judge of the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg Aleksandr Nuzhdin partially satisfied the claims under the lawsuit, having awarded Prytkov with fifty thousand rubles out of the claimed four hundred thousand.

Human rights defenders appealed against this ruling in the part of the amount of the awarded compensation at the Orenburg Regional Court. The Investigative Committee representatives, in their turn, submitted an appellate appeal requesting to dismiss the compensation for Prytkov.

Today, the panel of judges of the Orenburg Regional Court passed a ruling to quash the ruling of the District Court.

“For us this ruling of the Regional Court is completely unexpected. It is unclear what the court was guided by when it dismissed the compensation request, because the motivation part was not disclosed. When we receive the appellate ruling, we will definitely appeal against it at the cassation instance”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Albina Mudarisova, representing Vladimir Prytkov’s interests in court, emphasized.

As we have previously reported, in September of last year, the European Court of Human Rights communicated a complaint submitted by lawyers with the Committee Against Torture on behalf of Vladimir Prytkov: the Strasbourg judges posed some questions to the Russian Federation, regarding whether the applicant was subjected to torture, and whether the investigation of his complaint of police battery was effectively investigated.