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Grigory Pasko: How Rape Cases Are Investigated in Russia

pasko012010.jpgAt the end of last year, the leadership of Russia’s penitentiary system announced its intention to reform itself by the year 2020. Earlier the leadership of the MVD had also indicated that they were planning to implement reforms to their operations. Even judicial officials have muttered something vague and unintelligible about reforms. And only the procuracy – Russia’s sacred cow – is pretending that everything is fabulous in its innards:  that there is nothing to treat and cut there.

Nothing? And this after we see and hear examples of the talentless, and even out-and-out criminal, behavior of investigators on practically a daily basis?

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The result of such “work” of the investigators – thousands of fabricated criminal cases. And in consideration of our very own dear “Basmanny justice” – thousands of guiltless people sitting in jails.



It is noteworthy that you will never find statistics anywhere aboutunlawfully convicted citizens of Russia. And you will certainly notfind numbers characterizing the quantity of convicted investigators andprocurators supervising over them.

One often has a chance to see and hear the indignation of theprocurators over the softness of the punishment for some crime orother. In actuality, what should be spoken of is the disgusting levelof investigation. As a rule, even in the absence of evidence, ourcourts issue guilty verdicts: at the very least because earlier bythem, the courts themselves, had been selected a measure of restraintin relation to the supposed criminal in the form of deprivation ofliberty. If a person is deprived of liberty straight off, then he haspractically no chance of being acquitted. Hence – the careless attitudeof investigators towards the collection of evidence and the observanceof procedural norms ( the court will be on the side of theinvestigation anyway). Hence – the abominable attitude of judgestowards the requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure andConstitution of the RF in the course of a trial ( the person is sittingalready anyway, they have beaten guilt out of him partially or fully,and – the main thing – IN OUR COUNTRY, NOBODY WILL EVER PUNISH JUDGESFOR AN UNJUST VERDICT!

In recent times, I have had the opportunity to familiarize myselfwith the materials of several criminal cases that ended withconvictions. The convicts are found in colonies. Their appeals willsoon be examined by supervisory instances. The cases are over – forgetabout it already?

One could forget, I suppose, if not for a mass of questions…

Never yet in my journalistic practice have I written about personsconvicted of rape. And to be perfectly honest, this time too my storywill not be exactly about one particular event, but about how freelyand unlawfully the organs of investigation and the court treated theseevents.

The essence of the events is like this. On 19 January of the year2007, citizeness A.S. filed an application in the ROVD [local policestation–Trans.] at the place of residence (Irkutsk Oblast city ofUsolye-Sibirskoye) about how an unknown attempted to rape her. Based onthe fact of forcible sexual actions (the applicant turned out to be a virgin), the procuracy on 4 Februaryinitiated a criminal case. The suspect they did not find, although theysomehow or other did manage to establish his height – 1 m 65 cm.

Five months later, in June of that same year, in that same city wasinitiated yet another case: supposedly an unknown citizen hadsupposedly raped the citizeness S.N. She ran out into the road, havingtorn herself away from the arms of the criminal, and asked about help.A group of persons directly across from the place of the event, in thenumber of which – can you believe it?! – turned out to be a formerprocurator, immediately grabbed and, having tied the arms behind theback, beat up a suspicious person – citizen S.F (his height theyestablished precisely – 1m 86 cm). The “rapist” (thus did the formerprosecutor determine with an experienced eye) they brought to thepolice.

…You have no doubt already guessed that in relation to S.F. wasinitiated a criminal case with respect to two episodes: after twomonths they imputed the January event to him as well. In five monthsS.F. according to the version of the investigation and the court hadgrown by 21 cm. (from 1m 65 to 1m 86). To the great joy of theinvestigative organs, the apprehended S.F. had previously beenconditionally convicted [given a suspended sentence–Trans.] for robbery(there had, in the words of the mother, not been any robbery either, bythe way).

In the words of S.F.’s lawyer and his mother, curious facts are hadin the case. From the very beginning, they planted on the accused alawyer they had already planted on him in the robbery case. And evenback then, the suspect was obstinately refusing this lawyer (aclarification is needed here: in Russia, they often ASSIGN a statelawyer to suspects and accuseds. As a rule, such lawyers work veryclosely not with the clients, but with the organs of prosecution).

It is noteworthy that S.F. was judged this time around by the very samejudge who had already previously judged him for robbery. It is evenmore noteworthy that judge S.Davidenko had previously worked in thevery same procuracy in which the former procurator who had detained the”rapist” had toiled. Another amazing fact: it turns out that the victimof the “robbery” happens to be a relative of the victim of the Januaryattempted rape. The cousin of the robbery victim worked in the juvenilecases department, where the June “victim” was already registered. Andthe blood sister of the robbery victim worked as a psychologist in thesame school where the June “victim”, the one who is registered in thejuvenile cases department, attends classes.

A regular Irkutsk-style soap opera.

I won’t start enumerating all the inconsistencies and amazingcoincidences in this strange case. I will merely cite one more example.In the case are the results of expert examinations, from which is seenthat not only did the “rapist” have a different height in two incidentsof “forcible actions”, but also… a different blood type.

And so, despite all this “artistry” in the case, the judge sentenced S.F. to 15 years of deprivation of liberty.

The cassational instance – the oblast court – had enough sense andstrength to discard only a superfluous imputation of a threat with aknife in relation to the June victim. True, the term of punishment wasreduced from 15 to 10 years.

But even before the receipt of the case by the court of the firstinstance, it had gone through several investigators and procurators!What is this if not corruption during execution of service duties?

Here is what S.F.’s current lawyer Svetlana Ivanovna Ulyanova (herselfin the past a worker of the investigative organs) wrote me: “When Ibegan to study the criminal case of S.F., several moments becameincomprehensible to, me, for example with respect to the first episode …It became suspicious to me that this is – unprofessionalism or deliberate intent? This can not be unprofessionalism, because before directing the case to court, it is read several times over by
administrators, and then, before signing the bill of indictment, the controlling procurator studies the case from cover to cover.

The same situation evolved too during the “investigation” of the case with the other victim. Right from the start, there is a discrepancy in the case with respect to the time that S.F. was detained and the time of his beating…. Furthermore, thereis a falsification in the expert examinations… It is incomprehensibleto me how with such inconsistencies the court came to a conclusionabout the guilt specifically of S.F., and not of someone else”.

…Recently, the mother of the convict received a reply from chief ofthe administration for ensuring the participation of procurators duringexamination of criminal cases by courts of Irkutsk Oblast L.A.Primachek:

“Your complaints, received from the Procuracy-General of the RF and theAdministration of the President of the RF with respect to disagreementwith the verdict decreed in relation to the son S.F. has been examinedby the procuracy of Irkutsk Oblast. In court session, due legalassessment was given by the court to all researched evidence. Undersuch circumstances, the procuracy does not discern grounds forappealing court decisions in supervisory order to higher-standingjudicial organs”.

That’s under such circumstances that he doesn’t discern?

It goes without saying that an appeal with respect to the case ofS.F. has been sent off to the Strasbourg court. S.F. is now found in acolony. In the words of the mother, he has already gone throughtortures, beatings and humiliations. But for now has not broken.

About how the investigators, procurators and judges feel is unknown tome. I think they feel fine and at peace. In this country, they havenobody and nothing to fear.