24 March 2016, Thursday

Today Russian Justice Initiative sent a complaint to the European Court on behalf of Inal Berov, who was tortured during his detention by police in Kabardino-Balkaria.

Nalchik resident Inal Berov, a car mechanic, was detained on 7 March 2012. Police officers demanded that he confess to armed robbery. After an informal “talk” with the law enforcercement officers in custody, Berov was left with a fractured spine, a concussion and multiple hematomas all over his body, including the scrotum.

Before he was even taken into custody, on the way to the police station, the officers shouted: “Wait, let’s stop in the woods, rape him, and then go on.” They also threatened Berov that his mother and father would be raped. Once at the OVD (the Ministry of Internal Affairs) premises, Berov was put on the floor, duct tape plastered to his forehead, and  beaten and kicked all over his body. Then his thumbs were tied to wires and he was subjected to electriс shock for about 10 minutes. When he began screaming with pain, he was gagged with some crumpled paper. After the beating he was left tied to a chair for over twelve hours. In the end, Berov did not sign a confession, and was released. He was immediately hospitalized.

Eight men were involved in torturing Berov, who had a hat pulled over his eyes for most of the interrogation. A few times the hat slipped up over his eyes and he managed to see the men who were torturing him. During the subsequent investigation, he identified two of them. The investigators refused to open a criminal case against the Ministry of Interior members whom Berov had identified, and the case against the unidentified police officers was suspended on the grounds that the suspects could not be identified.  

Olga Gnezdilova, a lawyer at Russian Justice Initiative, stated that Berov was saved from further persecution because he immediately lodged a complaint concerning the torture he was subjected to. “His bodily injuries were documented and influential lawyers were involved in the case. We are now appealing to the European Court for Human Rights to recognize the violation of the claimant's rights for protection against torture and for an effective investigation,” said Gnezdilova. “Despite the Russian Constitutional Court’s recent ruling on the prevalence of Russian law over international commitments, we are sure that Berov will find justice at the international court because there are no irreconcilable differences here, and Russian law also prohibits torture.”

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