05 September 2016, Monday

The Investigative Committee office in the town of Kovrov, Vladimir Region, opened a criminal case into the use of physical force against convicted person Ayub Tuntuyev by prison staff at Prison Colony 6 in Vladimir Region.

The criminal case was opened after the European Court of Human Rights put questions to the Russian Government regarding Tuntuyev’s complaint about torture. The application was sent by lawyers from Russian Justice Initiative, who noted the pressure put on Tuntuyev, the complete lack of action by the investigative agencies, and the fact that a criminal case was not opened immediately after the facts occurred.

Tuntuyev underwent a general medical examination only six months after the incident took place, and an examination to ascertain specific physical damage took place only a year after the torture inflicted on him at the prison colony.   

“Ayub Tuntuyev has been charged on the basis of evidence that he gave without a lawyer and under physical pressure”, said Olga Gnezdilova, legal director at Russian Justice Initiative. “The investigator called Tuntuyev’s lawyer in for questioning today as a witness, which violates the law on defence lawyers and makes it impossible for the lawyer to continue providing Tuntuyev with legal assistance. Now, the investigators are to question the prison colony staff, and Tuntuyev himself, and have them come face-to-face so Tuntuyev can identify those involved. But the cases of this kind should be opened immediately and forensic medical examinations should be performed as soon as possible. The investigative agencies’ delay and the medical examination of Tuntuyev that took so long in coming cast doubt on the investigation’s effectiveness”, she said.

Tuntuyev states that prison staff at Prison Colony 6 beat him and tortured him with electric shocks on May 26-27, 2015, in order to obtain confessions and force him to refuse his lawyer’s assistance. Later, at the prison colony’s medical unit, personnel cut the injured skin from his heels in order to hide the traces of torture. Pressure was kept up on Tuntuyev throughout the following year, and on May 17, 2016, concrete threats were made against him. He was he was taken from his cell and taken to be interrogated by an FSB officer who had already threatened him earlier when he was in Prison Colony 6. The FSB officer asked him who acted on his behalf to send an application to the ECHR. Subsequently, he was beaten and forced to sign 50 sheets of procedural documents, the contents of which were unknown to him.

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