Russia
26.03.12
Urgent Interventions

End of proceedings against Ms. Sapiyat Magomedova / Ongoing impunity

New information
RUS 003 / 0312 / OBS 027
End of judicial harassment / Impunity
Russian Federation
March 26, 2012

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in the Russian Federation.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the closure of criminal proceedings against Ms. Sapiyat Magomedova, a lawyer at the firm “Omarov A.S. and Partners”, a law-firm known for taking on cases related to human rights violations, such as torture, extra-judicial killings and abductions, in Khasavyurt City, Republic of Dagestan, in the Russian Federation.

According to the information received, on March 14, 2012, Ms. Magomedova received a letter from the Public Prosecutor’s Office, informing her of the closure of criminal proceedings against both herself and two of the police officers who had assaulted her on June 17, 2010 (see background information).

The Observatory recalls that on July 2, 2010, Ms. Magomedova was charged for “assault and battery of authority representative” (Article 319 of the Criminal Code), while two special militia agents (OMON) in the Interior Department (GOVD), Mr. Batirb Magliev and Mr. Nariman Mollaev, were charged on July 1, 2010 of “abuse of power” (Sub-point (a), Part 3 of Article 286 of the Criminal Code).

Over the past months, Ms. Magomedova had contacted the Prosecutor several times to request information on the development of the case, but she had never received a response.

It is only while Ms. Magomedova was in the investigation division of the criminal department of the Russian Republic of Dagestan on March 12, 2012 that she was told, by chance, that criminal proceedings against her had been closed three months before. Thus, on March 14, 2012, she sent a written request to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to confirm the closure. She received the confirmation on the same day stating that “the evidence collected regarding the case concerning Magomedova and the police officers are contradictory, and this contradiction is unremovable, because no objective data has been produced to establish the truth about this incident and to disclose the actions of each participant, and all opportunities to collect additional evidence were exhausted”. The case was closed by the Public Prosecutor on December 28, 2011, without Ms. Magomedova being informed.

Ms. Magomedova intends to lodge an appeal against the Public Prosecutor’s decision to discharge the two police officers who assaulted her and to request that charges be levied against the two other agents who attacked her, against whom no charges have laid down so far.

The Observatory welcomes the closure of the criminal proceedings against Ms. Magomedova. However, the Observatory is concerned by the discontinuation of the charges against the police officers, in that it leaves human rights violations committed by police officers in impunity.

Background situation [1]:

In the afternoon of June 17, 2010, Ms. Sapiyat Magomedova, who was visiting a client, was beaten by four GOVD OMON agents of Khasavyurt city, and lost consciousness as a result.

Ms. Magomedova had come to the GOVD premises with all the documentation required to visit her client, Ms. Malika Evtomirovoya, who had been violently arrested and detained earlier the same day. Ms. Evtomirovoya had lodged a complaint in the past against a police officer for abuses sustained by the latter, and had been indirectly warned by the investigator in charge of the case not to be too vocal about that case otherwise she would be arrested. The arrest intervened just after the investigation was handed out to another investigator, upon request of Ms. Magomedova.

At the GOVD, Investigator Zakir Stambuloff rejected Ms. Magomedova’s request to visit her client, called the police patrol, and ordered the agents to “throw her out of here”. As Ms. Magomedova insisted to have access to her client, agents started to severely beat her, until militia chief Shamil Kerimovich Temigereev shouted to “throw that bitch”. Ms. Magomedova was then taken to the office of an investigator, and lost consciousness on three occasions there. A man reportedly advised police officers to draft a report stating that it was Ms. Magomedova who had started to attack them.

The Observatory was also informed that an ambulance was reportedly prevented from accessing Ms. Magomedova until she was dragged in a state of unconsciousness to the security checkpoint at the entrance of the building. The ambulance then managed to take her to the Khasavyurt city hospital.

In the assault, Ms. Magomedova’s gold chain was reportedly stolen, her mobile phone broken, and her lawyer’s card torn. She only regained consciousness in the evening at the hospital, and a forensic medical expert refused to examine her.

On June 19, 2010, Ms. Magomedova was transferred to the Republic’s clinical hospital in Makhachkala.

On July 1, 2010, an investigation was opened against the four police officers for “abuse of power”. Yet, on July 2, 2010, a criminal case against Ms. Magomedova was initiated for “assault and battery of authority representative”. On November 29, 2010, she lodged a complaint for the failure by the Russian police to investigate the attack under Article 25 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

In November 2011, the City Court of Khasaviurt remanded the two cases before the Public Prosecutor.

In the past, Ms. Magomedova filed four complaints before the European Court of Human Rights against investigators of the Prosecutor’s Office of Khasavyurt, accused of abuses against individuals. She has also been subjected to various acts of judicial harassment over the past years.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of the Russian Republic of Dagestan and ask them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Magomedova as well as of all human rights defenders in Dagestan, and in the Russian Federation as a whole;

ii. Carry out immediately a, thorough, effective and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned facts, the result of which must be made public, in order to identify those responsible, bring them before a civil, competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the penal sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Ms. Magomedova as well as against all human rights defenders in Dagestan, and in the Russian Federation as a whole;

iv. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, especially:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,

- and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. Conform in any circumstances with OP 2(iv.) of the Council of Europe Declaration on Human Rights Defenders [2], stating that member-States shall “take effective measures to prevent attacks on or harassment of human rights defenders”;

vi. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Russian Federation.

Addresses:

· Mr. Dmitri Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, Ilinka Str, 23, Moscow, 103132, Moscow, Russian Federation, Faxes:+ 7 495 606 5173 / 630 2408

· Mr. Yuriy Chaika, General Public Prosecutor of Russian Federation, 125993, Moscow, GSP-3, 15a B. Dimitrovka str. Russian Federation, Fax: +7 495 692-96-00 / +7 495 692 1725

· Chairwoman of the Council on the Development of Institutes of Civil Society and Human Rights under the President of the Russian Federation, Ms. Ella Pamfilova, 103132 g. Moskva, Staraya ploshchad, d 8/5,pod 3, Russian Federation, Fax:+74956064855

· Mr. Vladimir Lukin, Russian Federal Ombudsman for Human Rights, Fax: +7 495 207 3969 / +7 495 607-53-37

· Minister of Internal Affairs, Mr. Rashid Nurgaliev, ul. Zhitnaya, 16, 117049 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Rossiia, 117049, Moskva, Fax: + 7 495 637 49 25

· Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl, 32/34, 121200 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Fax:+ 7 495 644 2203

· Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva Av. de la Paix 15, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland, e-mail : mission.russian@ties.itu.int, Fax: +4122 734 40 44

· Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, 31-33 boulevard du Régent, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 513 76 49.

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the Russian Federation in your respective country.

***

Paris-Geneva, March 26, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

Footnotes

[1] See Observatory Annual Report 2011.

[2] Declaration of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for enhanced protection of human rights defenders, adopted on February 6, 2008.

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