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The torture case of four Anapa residents is once again suspended

News

09 December 2019

The Investigative Committee issued another ruling on suspending the criminal case on tortures of four Anapa residents at the police department in December 2015. It follows from the ruling that this ruling is based on the absence of information on guilty persons, and all the possible investigative activities were performed, in the opinion of investigator Roman Stain. Previously, he dismissed the investigation of the criminal case three times, however, after applications and complaints of the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, the investigation of the criminal case was resumed. Human rights defenders think that the investigator should be brought to disciplinary action for illegal rulings.

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 investigator, 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 have repeatedly declared ineffective by the Prosecutor’s Office and the superior instances of the Investigative Committee.

On 23 February 2019, the investigation of the criminal case was suspended and on 1 March it was dismissed altogether due to absence of the element of crime.

In July, this ruling of the investigator was declared illegal and it was quashed by the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee for the North Caucasus Federal District. Only human rights defenders applying to the central office of the Investigative Committee of Russia helped to successfully insist on quashing the dismissal of the criminal case.

Similar rulings on dismissal of the case were passed twice in August and October, but they also were quashed after lawyers of the Committee Against Torture applied to the superiors of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia for the Krasnodar Territory.

Today, human rights defenders received a copy of the ruling on suspending of this criminal case, dated 29 November of this year.

“When passing this ruling, the investigator pointed out that all the investigative activities, possible in absence of defendants, are performed. However, this is not so, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Roman Veretennikov, representing the interests of the victims in the criminal case, comments on the investigator’s ruling. – For example, the investigator satisfied the motion of the victims on performing some investigative activities, in particular, an additional questioning of the key witnesses with our participation, but these activities have not been performed to this day. We intend to insist on resuming the investigation, as well as on punishing investigator Stain, who is issuing illegal rulings on this case”.