Russia: Court awards €50,000 following teenager police brutality complaint

Human rights judges have awarded €50,000 to a Russian, whom, as a 16-year-old teenager, was a victim of police brutality.

Devyatkin v. Russia (no. 40384/06)

The applicant, Nikolay Devyatkin, is a Russian national who was born in 1986 and lives in Krasnodar (Russia). The case, decided on 24 October, concerned an allegation by a minor about police brutality.

On 4 November 2003, Devyatkin, 16 years old at the time, was stopped by two police officers. He alleged that one of the officers had seized him by the neck, knocked him down and tried to strangle him.

He said he had then been punched and dragged into a police car, before being taken to a local administrative building where his father eventually found him and took him home.

The father was subsequently found guilty of failing to properly bring up his son because he had used obscene language in a public place.

The father appealed and the proceedings against him were later dropped as there was a lack of evidence to show that he had not properly raised his children, who had been well cared for, studied hard in school and were from a well-thought of family.

Devyatkin sustained multiple injuries, including a fracture of the hyoid bone, cuts and bruising to his neck, face and elbow, as recorded in a number of medical reports.

Devyatkin’s mother attempted to initiate criminal proceedings against the police officers,  without success.

Investigators refused on a number of occasions to open a criminal case, basing their decisions on a pre-investigation inquiry which had concluded that the applicant’s injuries must have occurred when he had attempted to escape the police, necessitating the use of force.

The investigators’ refusals were annulled on a number of occasions by their superiors with instructions to clarify exactly what each police officer had done to restrain the applicant or whether there had actually been any need to apprehend him.

Most recently, in 2005, the investigator maintained however his findings without rectifying those shortcomings.

Relying on Article 3 (prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment), Mr Devyatkin complained that he had sustained injuries at the hands of the police and that no effective investigation had been carried out into his complaints.

Violation of Article 3 (torture)

Violation of Article 3 (investigation)

Just satisfaction: EUR 50,000 (non-pecuniary damage)

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