CASE OF SHAROV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 58533/18 and 11 others – see appended list)
7 September 2023
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Sharov and Others v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Lorraine Schembri Orland, President,
Davor Derenčinović, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 6 July 2023,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in applications against Russia lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on the various dates indicated in the appended table.
2. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were given notice of the applications.
3. The list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in the appended table.
4. The applicants complained of the torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. Some applicants also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.
I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS
5. Having regard to the similar subject matter of the applications, the Court finds it appropriate to examine them jointly in a single judgment.
6. The Court observes that the facts giving rise to the alleged violations of the Convention occurred prior to 16 September 2022, the date on which the Russian Federation ceased to be a party to the Convention. The Court therefore decides that it has jurisdiction to examine the present applications (see Fedotova and Others v. Russia [GC], nos. 40792/10 and 2 others, §§ 68‑73, 17 January 2023).
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 of the Convention
7. The applicants complained principally of the torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. They relied, expressly or in substance, on Article 3 of the Convention.
8. The Court held in Bouyid v. Belgium ([GC], no. 23380/09, §§ 81-90 and 114-23, ECHR 2015), that presumptions of fact was in favour of applicants claiming to be victims of a violation of Article 3 of the Convention, if they demonstrate that the alleged ill-treatment was inflicted when they were under the control of the police or a similar authority. Moreover, in the context of detainees, the Court has emphasised that persons in detention are in a vulnerable position and that the authorities have a duty to protect their physical well-being and that any recourse to physical force which has not been made strictly necessary by the applicants’ own conduct diminishes human dignity and in principle constitutes a violation of the right enshrined in Article 3 of the Convention (see Sheydayev v. Russia, no. 65859/01, § 59, 7 December 2006). The burden of proof rests on the Government to show that the use of force, which resulted in the applicants’ injuries, was not excessive (see, for example, Dzwonkowski v. Poland, no. 46702/99, § 51, 12 April 2007, and compare with Kursish and Others v. Russia [Committee], nos. 62003/08 and 5 others, § 84, 5 July 2022).
9. Furthermore, in the cases of Lyapin v. Russia, no. 46956/09, §§ 128‑40, 24 July 2014, and Samesov v. Russia, no. 57269/14, §§ 54-63, 20 November 2018, as well as in Kuchta and Mętel v. Poland, no. 76813/16, § 88, 2 September 2021, the Court has already found, in particular, that the authorities’ refusal to open a fully-fledged criminal investigation into the credible allegations of ill-treatment, as well as the lack of assessment of the necessity and proportionality of the use of lawful force by the police were indicative of the State’s failure to fulfil its procedural obligation under Article 3 of the Convention.
10. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has not found any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion on the admissibility and merits of these complaints.
11. The Court therefore finds these complaints admissible and observes that there has been a violation of the substantive and procedural limbs of Article 3 of the Convention in respect of all the applicants.
IV. REMAINING COMPLAINTS
12. Some applicants also submitted complaints under Article 13 of the Convention. These complaints are not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention, nor are they inadmissible on any other ground. They must therefore be declared admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that there is no need to examine them separately in the light of its findings under Article 3 of the Convention (see Aleksandr Andreyev v. Russia, no. 2281/06, § 71, 23 February 2016, and Leonid Petrov v. Russia, no. 52783/08, § 86, 11 October 2016).
V. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
13. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
14. Having regard to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law (see Ksenz and Others v. Russia, nos. 45044/06 and 5 others, § 120, 12 December 2017; and, for similar situations, Zagaynov and Others v. Russia [Committee], nos. 5666/07 and 4 others, 15 June 2021, and Dauberkov and Others v. Russia [Committee], nos. 60844/11 and 2 others, § 64, 22 March 2022), the Court considers it appropriate to award the sums indicated in the appended table.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,
1. Decides to join the applications;
2. Holds that it has jurisdiction to deal with the applicants’ complaints as they relate to facts that took place before 16 September 2022;
3. Declares the applications admissible;
4. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of substantive and procedural limbs of Article 3 of the Convention concerning the torture or inhuman or degrading treatment;
5. Holds that it is not necessary to examine separately the applicants’ complaints under Article 13 of the Convention;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, within three months, the amounts indicated in the appended table, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 7 September 2023, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Viktoriya Maradudina Lorraine Schembri Orland
Acting Deputy Registrar President
List of applications raising complaints under Article 3 of the Convention
(torture or inhuman or degrading treatment)
Date of introduction
Year of birth
|Representative’s name and location||Factual information||Medical evidence of ill‑treatment||Date of first complaint
Decision issued in response to complaint of ill‑treatment
|Decision under Article 125 of the CCrP
|Information relating to conviction||Amount awarded for pecuniary and non‑pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per applicant
|Nikolay Borisovich SHAROV
|5 episodes of alleged ill‑treatment:
1) On 01/07/2011 police officers of a special police unit beat the applicant up on the head and thorax during his arrest in Nizhniy Novgorod on the suspicion of murder; the beating continued at police station no. 6.
2) On 02/07/2011, while transported in a police car from Nizhny Novgorod to Saratov, the applicant pushed the driver, a police officer of operative search division no. 3 in the Saratov Region. The officers stopped the car and subjected the applicant to beatings. Then they tied the applicant’s head to his knees and transported him further to Saratov in that position.
3) and 4) On 2 and 08/07/2011 up to six police officers subjected the applicant to beatings and electrocution at operative search division no. 3 in Saratov.
5) on 8 or 9/07/2011 three police officers intervened to stop the applicant’s suicide attempt by cutting his veins at the temporary detention facility of the Saratov police department. The applicant resisted and was immobilised: police officers beat him and then handcuffed him to the bed. As a result, the applicant’s two ribs were fractured, and a lung perforated. On 10/07/2011 the applicant was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery.
No report on the use of force by the police officers was compiled.
|Extract from the medical log of the temporary detention facility in Saratov of 02/07/2011: complaints about chest pain, no apparent physical injuries; then of 04/07/2011: abrasions on the front, neck and wrists, violet-coloured bruises on the left lower thigh; complaints about pain in the right part of the chest and allegations that these injuries had been caused during the applicant’s arrest.
Panel expert report no. 132 of 05/07/2012 by the Forensic Bureau of the Saratov Region: blunt injury of the thoracic cage, two broken ribs, closed pneumothorax, subcutaneous emphysema, pigment spots on the right forearm, abrasions on the wrists, haematomas on the left lower thigh and abdomen, and abrasions on the lower thighs.
Panel expert report no. 64/14 of 20/08/2014 by the Russian centre of forensic examinations: injuries on the face (abrasions, haematomas, and bruises) and on the neck, haematomas on the abdomen and on the chest, injuries on the upper and lower limbs. These injuries had been caused 3-10 days prior to the applicant’s examination on 10/07/2011. Besides, closed blunt injury on the thorax (two ribs fracture with injury to the lung resulted in a pneumothorax), caused not earlier than 3 weeks prior to 10/07/2011.
|On 12/07/2011 during an interrogation as a suspect the applicant complained to the investigator about his ill-treatment.||On 01/08/2011 a criminal case was opened into the applicant’s ill-treatment and on 03/08/2011 he was granted victim status. The investigation was terminated by the decisions of 05/11/2014 (overruled by the investigators’ superiors) and then of 05/12/2014, which found that the allegations had been unsubstantiated: the injuries had been caused by the lawful use of force during the applicant’s arrest and then during the intervention to stop his suicide attempt.
The applicant appealed against the refusals. On 14/06/2018 last appeal rejected by the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court.
|On an unspecified date the applicant was convicted of murder and trafficking of firearms.||52,000|
|Oleg Nikolayevich KRAYUSHKIN
|On 11/09/2012 the applicant was taken to operative search police division no. 6 in the Nizhniy Novgorod Region on suspicion of theft where for two hours the officers beat him with a rubber truncheon on the face, ears and feet to make him confess to a crime.||Extract from the medical log of the temporary detention facility in Pavlovo of 12/09/2012: haematomas on the inner surface of the feet.
Expert reports by the Forensic Bureau of the Nizhniy Novgorod Region no. 776 of 13/09/2012: four bruises on the feet and no. 273/776 of 22/11/2012: bruises on the feet caused by blunt objects, inflicted 2-3 days prior to the examination conducted on 13/09/2012.
Witness statements of individuals who heard the applicant crying and screaming at the police station.
|On 12/09/2012 the applicant complained about the ill-treatment during an interrogation as a suspect in the criminal case for theft/ between 23/09/2012 and 04/06/2013 six refusals to open a criminal case were issued, all were overruled by the investigators’ superiors/on 16/08/2013 a criminal case was opened and the applicant was granted victim status on 24/10/2013. Between 16/11/2013 and 10/11/2015 the criminal proceedings were suspended and resumed eight times/then terminated three times, lastly on 21/01/2017 as the investigators found that the applicant’s injuries had been self-inflicted by jumping from a truck one day prior to the arrest.||On 26/03/2018 the applicant challenged the last decision to terminate the criminal case /
On 24/04/2018 the Moskovskiy District Court dismissed his complaint/upheld on 25/06/2018 by the Nizhniy Novgorod Regional Court.
|Andrey Sergeyevich BODASHKO
|Zadorozhnaya Mariya Aleksandrovna
|On 02/04/2019 the applicant was arrested by officers of police department no. 1 “Orskoye” and was taken to the police station on charges of hooliganism. There he was beaten by officers who broke his arm. The ambulance was called and took the applicant to hospital no. 2 in Orsk; his arm was operated on 09/04/2019; he was discharged on 15/04/2019.||Emergency medical call sheet no. 28874 of 02/04/2019 by hospital no. 2: closed fracture of the right shoulder.||On 02/04/2019 the applicant’s mother complained of the ill-treatment and on the same day the applicant complained himself to the Orsk Investigative Committee / Refusals to open a criminal case: 12/08/2019, 11/09/2019, 11/10/2019, 11/11/2019, 13/11/2019, last – 12/12/2019.||On 12/02/2020 the Oktyabrskiy District Court in Orsk dismissed the applicant’s appeal against the last refusal to open a criminal case as unsubstantiated/ Upheld on 29/04/2020 by the Orenburg Regional Court||26,000|
|Denis Sergeyevich YAKUSHIN
|On 02/12/2016 the applicant was arrested on suspicion of fraud and was taken to the Arkhangelsk Regional Police Department in Arkhangelsk, where between 1 p.m. and 10 p.m. the officers subjected him to beatings. On the same day the applicant
was transferred to IVS no. 1 and then on 04/12/2016 to SIZO no. 4 in Arkhangelsk. There he was detained until 22/04/2021 when he was transferred to prison to serve his sentence.
|Medical certificate on admission to SIZO no. 4 on 04/12/2016: multiple facial abrasions and a bruise on the right shoulder.||On 09/01/2017 complaint to the Arkhangelsk Investigative Committee, / Refusal to open a criminal case on 27/02/2017.||On 16/02/2020 the Oktyabrskiy District Court in Arkhangelsk dismissed the applicant’s appeal against the refusal as unsubstantiated/upheld on 25/02/2020 by the Arkhangelsk Regional Court.||On 26/06/2020 the applicant was convicted by the Arkhangelsk Regional Court and sentenced to life imprisonment.||26,000|
|Aleksey Petrovich KONDRASHOV
|Zadorozhnaya Mariya Aleksandrovna
|At 10.05 a.m. on 29/08/2019, police officers of police station “Abdulinskiy” arrived at the applicant’s house in Abdulino, Orenburg Region, to arrest his son.
The police officers pinned the applicant to the ground, repeatedly punched and kicked him in the head and torso and tied his hands with a belt. Then he was taken to a police station and released in the evening (no arrest report was drawn up).
|1) X-ray examination act of 29/08/2019: right rib fracture.
2) Ambulance certificate no. 54 of 29/08/2019: right rib fracture, thorax bruise, facial abrasions;
3) Neurologist examination report of 30/08/2019: brain concussion, haematoma on the left temple;
4) Referral for hospitalisation of 30/08/2019: head injury, brain concussion, injuries of thorax, neck and lower back;
5) Forensic medical examination act no. 375 of 20/11/2019: right rib fracture, left eye haematoma. The injuries could have been caused by a hard blunt object within the period and in the circumstances alleged by the applicant.
|On 30/08/2019 complaint to the Abdulinskiy prosecutor’s office. Several refusals to open a criminal case between 29/09/2019 and 14/10/2020, last – 12/12/2020.||On 26/06/2020 and 02/04/2021 the Abdulinskiy District Court in the Orenburg Region rejected the applicant’s complaints against the refusals as the impugned decisions had been overruled by the investigators’ superiors on 25/06/2020 and 23/03/2021 respectively.||26,000|
|Danila Gennadyevich BELYANIN
|Borisov Oleg Vyacheslavovich
|1) At 10:30 a.m. on 26/03/2020 police officers of the Drug Control Unit arrested the applicant in his car in the forest near Ulyanovsk and subjected him to beatings and tasing to make him confess to drug trafficking.
2) Later, on 26/03/2020 the police officers took the applicant to the Leninskiy District police station in Ulyanovsk where he was subjected to further beatings and tasing. At 7 p.m. on 26/03/2020 an arrest report was drawn up and the applicant was placed in a cell.
|1) Extract from medical card no. 10707 for the period between 27/03/2020 and 01/04/2020: injuries of both kidneys, damage to anterior abdominal wall, thorax and left gluteal area.
2) Forensic medical report no. 1113 of 30/03/2022: multiple bruises and abrasions on the legs, arms and torso. The injuries could have been caused by a hard object or electric shocks within 1-6 days prior to the examination.
3) Forensic medical report no. 311 of 18/08/2020: multiple bruises and abrasions on the legs, arms and torso. The injuries could have been caused by beating.
|On 27/03/2020 complaint to the investigator during the interrogation as a suspect. On
30/03/2020 complaint of the applicant’s lawyer to the Ulyanovsk Investigative Committee/on 30/03/2020 criminal case opened and terminated on 15/02/2021 for the lack of corpus delicti.
|On 10/03/2021 the Leninskiy District Court in Ulyanovsk rejected the applicant’s complaint against the termination of the investigation /upheld by the Ulyanovsk Regional Court on 17/05/2021.||Conviction of large-scale drug trafficking and illegal possession of firearms, Leninskiy District Court of Ulyanovsk, 17/06/2021.||26,000|
|Lom-Ali Khamidovich ELBIYEV
|The applicant, who was the head of a municipal enterprise in Chechnya, was suspected of embezzlement by the deputy mayor of Grozny. The applicant was summoned to the latter’s office on 24/02/2017, where between 8 p.m. on 24/02/2017 and 3 a.m. on 25/02/2017 he was subjected to beatings in the legs by the mayor’s deputy Mr Kh.. and his assistants and then to electrocution by a machine brought over by the head of the Grozny police department Mr A. During the ill-treatment the applicant was pressured to confess to the alleged embezzlement. As a result, he confessed and was released under condition of reimbursing the funds (28 million roubles, about 460,000 euros). On 01/03/2017 the applicant paid about 15% of the amount and was warned that if he would not pay the rest by the end of the month, he and his family members would suffer. Out of fear for his life and that of his family members, the applicant fled Russia in March 2017.||Certificate of Vascular Diseases Clinic in Sarajevo singed by doctor with ID no. A0289 of 20/03/2017: multiple healing hematomas on both legs.||On 21/07/2017 complaint by the applicant’s lawyer to the Chechnya investigative committee/refusals to open a criminal case on 24/08/2019, 04/10/2019, last on 06/11/2019.||On 17/08/2021 the appeal against the refusal of 06/11/2019 rejected by the Staropromyslovskiy District Court as unsubstantiated/upheld on 25/11/2021 by the Chechnya Supreme Court.||26,000|
|Timur Ruslanovich DEBISHEV
|Zadorozhnaya Mariya Aleksandrovna
|On 12/11/2018 and 13/11/2018, the applicant was beaten by officers of the Leninskiy District police department in Grozny, Chechnya, with the view to force him to confess to
drug crimes and to name other drug users. He was subjected to electrocution and suffocation with a plastic bag.
|Medical examination of 14/11/2018: multiple head hematomas, bruises on shoulders, hips, legs, marks of electric current.
Independent medical examination no. 065-2018 of 04/12/2-18 and Independent Medical examination no. 020-2019 of 26/04/2019: injuries to the head, arms and legs.
Forensic Medical Examination no. 508 of 18/10/2019: injuries on the main phalanges of the fingers, which could have been caused by current and electrocution, massive bruises on the right shoulder, right and left thighs, which were caused by blunt force trauma, bruises on the head.
Independent Medical examination no. 020-2019 of 26/04/2019: injuries to the head, arms and legs.
Forensic Medical Examination no. 508 of 18/10/2019.
Forensic Medical Examination no. 485 of 11/07/2019 (injuries of the head, shoulders, thighs).
|On 14/11/2018 complaint to the Chechnya Investigative Committee /Refusals to open a criminal case of 10/01/2019, 17/05/2019, 16/07/2019, 12/09/2019, 19/10/2019; Last – 14/10/2021.||On 11/12/2020 the Staropromyslovskiy District Court in Grozny rejected the applicant’s complaint about the refusal of 19/10/2019/On 14/04/2021 the decision upheld by the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic.
On 25/04/2022 the same court in Grozny terminated the proceedings as the refusal of 14/10/2022 had been overruled.
|No conviction yet.||52,000|
|Kristina Anatolyevna DULKOVA
|Toreyeva Svetlana Anatolyevna
|At 6.30 p.m. on 12/01/2021 the applicant was beaten in Moscow by police officers of the Khoroshevskiy police station of Moscow||Botkinskiy Hospital discharge summary note of 19/01/2021: brain concussion, closed craniocerebral injury, subcutaneous hematoma of the occipital region, subcutaneous hematoma, abrasions of the frontal region on the left, bruising of the left zygomatic region, bruises and abrasions of both knee joints, stretching of the musculoskeletal apparatus of the cervical spine.||On 25/01/2021 complaint to the Savelovskiy Interdistrict investigative committee in Moscow/Refusals to open a criminal case on 02/03/2021 and 27/05/2021.||On 03/12/2021 the Savelovskiy District Court in Moscow rejected the applicant’s complaint against the last refusal / the decision was upheld by the Moscow City Court on 11/05/2022.||26,000|
|Danil Alekseyevich LEVENSTAM
|Toreyeva Svetlana Anatolyevna
|On 12/06/2019 police officers took the applicant to the Alekseevskiy police station in Moscow where kicked him repeatedly.||Medical examination act of 17/06/2019: hip injury.
Forensic medical examination act no. 6170m/6267 of 15/07/2019: hip injury possibly caused by kicking in specially issued police boots.
|On 12/06/2019 complaint to the police department in Alekseevskiy District of Moscow –
Refusals to open a criminal case – 12/07/2019, 30/07/2019, 16/03/2020
|On 11/11/2021 the Meshchanskiy District Court of Moscow rejected the applicant’s appeal against the last refusal/ On 26/05/2022 the Moscow City Court upheld the decision.||26,000|
|Vitaliy Mikhaylovich BELOBORODOV
|Kovaleva Yana Viktorovna
|On 29/04/2021 the applicant was subjected to severe beatings on the head and torso by officers of the Alekseyevskiy district police station in Tatarstan to extract confession.||Police report drawn upon the applicant’s initial examination at the Regional Clinical Hospital in Alekseyevskaya of 29/04/2021: four broken ribs, bruises to the chest and right side of the face.
Certificate of the same hospital of 11/05/2021, the applicant admitted to the hospital of 29/04/2021: four broken ribs, brain concussion, bruises to the right eye.
Forensic medical examination act no. 347 of 26/07/2021: haematoma under the eye, bruises of the face and head, brain concussion, broken jawbone.
Forensic medical examination act no. 437 of 06/09/2021: four broken ribs, pneumothorax, haematoma under the left eye, broken jawbone, abrasions on both wrists; qualified as harm of medium and severe gravity.
|Decision to open a criminal case of 30/04/2021
Decision to terminate a criminal case of 29/12/2021.
|On 28/03/2022 the Sovetskiy District Court of Kazan rejected the applicant’s complaint against the termination of the criminal case /On 20/05/2022 upheld by the Supreme Court of Tatarstan.||On 19/11/2021 the Alekseyevskiy District Court of the Tatarstan Republic convicted the applicant/
No appeal against conviction.
|Artem Anatolyevich BUSLENKO
|Nurgaleyev Danil Ilnurovich
|On 15/08/2021 the applicant was detained by patrol police officers and was taken to police station no. 31 in the Kirovskiy District of St Petersburg, where he was subjected to beatings.||Certificate of City Hospital no. 26 of 17/08/2021: closed head injury, concussion, multiple hematomas and bruises, abrasions on the head, face, body, and right suborbital area.
Forensic medical examination act no. 364 of 01/11/2021: multiple hematomas and bruises, abrasions on the head, face, body, and right suborbital area, head injuries were not confirmed.
complaint to the St Peterburg investigative committee/
Refusals to open a criminal case of 22/09/2021, 30/10/2021, and 30/11/2021.
|On 08/04/2022 the Kirovskiy District Court of St Petersburg rejected the applicant’s complaint against the last refusal/On
22/06/2022 the decision was upheld by the St Petersburg City Court.
[i] Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants.