The applicants complained of the torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.
CASE OF ABAKUMETS AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 4792/22 and 10 others – see appended list)
14 September 2023
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Abakumets v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Peeter Roosma, President,
Andreas Zünd, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 13 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 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 has found 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 custody are in a vulnerable position and that the authorities are under 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 is in principle an infringement of the right set forth 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 demonstrate 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 institute 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 comply with its procedural obligation under Article 3 of the Convention.
10. The Court finds the complaints admissible and holds that there has been a breach of the substantive and procedural limbs of Article 3 of the Convention in respect of all the applicants, save for the applicant in application no. 31845/22 in respect of whom it only finds a violation of the procedural limb of that provision.
IV. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS UNDER WELL-ESTABLISHED CASE-LAW
11. The applicants in applications nos. 4792/22, 4952/22, 31845/22 and 41202/22 submitted other complaints which also raised issues under the Convention, given the relevant well-established case‑law of the Court (see appended table). 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. Accordingly, they must be declared admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that they also disclose violations of the Convention in the light of its findings in Idalov v. Russia [GC], no. 5826/03, 22 May 2012; Fortalnov and Others v. Russia, nos. 7077/06 and 12 others, §§ 76-79, 26 June 2018; Tsvetkova and Others v. Russia, nos. 54381/08 and 5 others, §§ 121-22, 10 April 2018; Karelin v. Russia, no. 926/08, § 84, 20 September 2016; and Korneyeva v. Russia, no. 72051/17, § 34, 8 October 2019.
V. REMANINING COMPLAINTS
12. Some applicants also submitted complaints under other provisions of the Convention. Having examined all the material before it and having taken into account its findings made in paragraphs 10 and 11 above, the Court concludes that there is no need to examine these complaints separately (see Centre for Legal Resources on behalf of Valentin Câmpeanu v. Romania [GC], no. 47848/08, ECHR 2014; Aleksandr Andreyev v. Russia, no. 2281/06, § 71, 23 February 2016; and Leonid Petrov v. Russia, no. 52783/08, § 86, 11 October 2016).
VI. 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, its case‑law (see, 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) and making its assessment on an equitable basis (see Bouyid , cited above, § 138) the Court considers it reasonable 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 applicants’ complaints about torture or inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of State officials, and other complaints raised under the well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table) admissible, and finds that it is not necessary to examine separately the remaining complaints raised by some of the applicants;
4. Holds that there has been a breach of the substantive and procedural limbs of Article 3 of the Convention in respect of all the applicants, related to their complaints of torture or inhuman and degrading treatment, save for the applicant in application no. 31845/22 in respect of whom there has only been a violation of the procedural limb of Article 3 of the Convention;
5. Holds that there has been a violation of the Convention as regards the other complaints raised under the well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table);
(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 14 September 2023, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Viktoriya Maradudina Peeter Roosma
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||Other complaints under
|Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per applicant
|Robert Nailyevich ABAKUMETS
|Yastrebova Natalya Viktorovna
|In the early morning on 01/06/2021 the applicant and several other individuals were arrested by FSB officers from the Border Control Service in the Rostov Region on suspicion of smuggling. The officers dragged the applicant out of the car, handcuffed and hit him.
no. 17 of 10/06/2021 by the Rostov Regional Forensic Centre
no. 111: a hematoma on the right shoulder and a hematoma on the left shoulder – the injuries were caused by a hard blunt object, one to three days prior the examination carried out on 03/06/2021.
|On 02/06/2021 the applicant complained to the investigative unit no. 314 of the Military Investigative Committee / on 11/06/2021 refusal to open a criminal case as the use of the physical force was justified.||On 30/11/2021 the Rostov-on-Don Military Garrison Court dismissed the appeal against the refusal as unsubstantiated / upheld on 11/02/2022 by the Southern Military Circuit Court.||On 21/07/2021 the applicant was convicted under
Article 18.7 of the CAO (failure to comply with orders of a border-control officer) by the Neklinovskiy District Court.
|Art. 6 (1) – lack of impartiality of the tribunal in view of the absence of a prosecuting party in administrative-offence proceedings –
decision of 21/07/2021 by the Neklinovskiy District Court of the Rostov Region
|Vitaliy Aleksandrovich TITOVSKIY
|Yastrebova Natalya Viktorovna
|In the early morning on 01/06/2021 the applicant and several other individuals were arrested by FSB officers from the Border Control Service in the Rostov Region on suspicion of smuggling. The officers hit the applicant in the torso several times.
|Forensic medical examination report no. 21 of 10/06/2021: bruises on the right shoulder, could have been caused in the circumstances as alleged by the applicant, by a blow with a blunt hard object one to three days prior the examination carried out on 03/06/2021||On 02/06/2021 complaint to the Military Investigative Committee/ On 11/06/2021
refusal to open a criminal case as the use of the physical force was justified.
|On 30/11/2021 the Rostov-on-Don Military Garrison Court dismissed the appeal against the refusal as unsubstantiated / upheld on 11/02/2022 by the Southern Military Circuit Court.
|On 21/07/2021 the applicant was convicted under
Article 18.7 of the CAO (failure to comply with orders of a border-control officer) by the Neklinovskiy District Court in the Rostov Region.
|Art. 5 (1) – unlawful deprivation of liberty – Detention as an administrative suspect: beyond the three-hour statutory period from 4.10 a.m. on
01/06/2021 until 6 p.m. on 01/06/2021;
Art. 6 (1) – lack of impartiality of the tribunal in view of the absence of a prosecuting party in administrative-offence proceedings – decision on 21/07/2021 by the Neklinovskiy District Court in the Rostov Region.
|Rada Ravilevna KARAMOVA
|Popkov Aleksandr Vasilyevich
|On 24/12/2019 the applicant arrived at the Central District police station in Sochi, asked to see the head of the station and refused to leave the premises until her request was granted. The fight ensued during which two officers allegedly forced the applicant’s hands off the metal railing which she was holding on to and then took her fingerprints by twisting her arms. The fingerprinting was done in order to charge her with the administrative offence of breaching the public order aggravated by failing to comply with a lawful demand of an officer.
|Medical Certificate no. C-19-92063 of 26/12/2019 by Town Hospital
no. 4 of Sochi: closed fractures of the right shoulder bone, the fifth bone of the right hand.
Forensic Medical Expert Certificate no. 576/939-M of 23/09/2020 by the same bureau: the injuries inflicted on the applicant caused her partial physical incapacity for more than three weeks and are consistent with having been inflicted during the period indicated by her.
|Complaint to the Sochi Investigative Committee/ Between 14/02/2020 and 02/08/2021 eight refusals to open a criminal case.
|On 10/03/2021 the applicant appealed against the refusal of 09/12/2020/On 30/03/2021 the Central District Court in Sochi found that the inquiry was incomplete and deficient/ On 01/07/2021 the Krasnodar Regional Court overruled that ruling and remitted the case for a fresh examination/On 10/08/2021 the Central District Court dismissed the complaint as the impugned refusal had been overruled on 22/03/2021/On 21/10/2021 the Krasnodar Regional Court upheld that ruling.||26,000|
|Maksim Mikhaylovich SALNYY
|Kiryanov Aleksandr Vladimirovich
|In the early morning on 01/06/2021 the applicant and several other individuals were arrested by FSB officers from the Border Control Service in the Rostov Region on suspicion of smuggling. The officers handcuffed and hit the applicant several times in the shins.
|Expert report no. 15 of the State Forensic Centre no.111 of 10/06/2021: an abrasion on the right shin – the injury was caused by a hard blunt object one to three days prior to the examination carried out on 03/06/2021.||On 02/06/2021 complaint to investigative unit no. 314 of the Military Investigative Committee/On 11/06/2021 refusal to open a criminal case as the use of the physical force was justified.||On 29/11/2021 the Rostov-on-Don Garrison Court rejected the appeal against the refusal as unsubstantiated/upheld on 11/02/2022 by the Southern Military Circuit Court.||6,500|
|Nikolay Aleksandrovich KIRICHENKO
|In the early morning on 01/06/2021 the applicant and several other individuals were arrested by FSB officers from the Border Control Service in the Rostov Region on suspicion of smuggling. The officers handcuffed and hit the applicant several times.||Expert report no. 16 of State Forensic Centre no.111 of 10/06/2021: hematomas on the right shoulder, a hematoma on the right forearm, an abrasion on the lower right shin; the injuries were caused by a hard blunt object one to three days prior to the examination carried out on 03/06/2021.
|On 02/06/2021 complaint to investigative unit no. 314 of the Military Investigative Committee/On 11/06/2021 refusal to open a criminal case as the use of the physical force was justified.||On 29/11/2021 the Rostov-on-Don Garrison Court rejected the appeal as unsubstantiated/upheld on 11/02/2022 by the Southern Military Circuit Court.||6,500|
|Aleksandr Vladimirovich TRIPOLSKIY
|Kiryanov Aleksandr Vladimirovich
|In the early morning on 01/06/2021 the applicant and several other individuals were arrested by FSB officers from the Border Control Service in the Rostov Region on suspicion of smuggling. The officers hit the applicant several times.||Forensic medical examination report no. 22 of 10/06/2021: bruises on the left shoulder, abrasion of the left wrist joint, caused from sliding and at least two blows with a blunt hard object in the circumstances as alleged by the applicant.
|On 09/06/2021 complaint to investigative unit no. 314 of the Military Investigative Committee/On 18/06/2021 refusal to open a criminal case as the use of the physical force was justified.
|On 25/11/2021 the Rostov-on-Don Garrison Court rejected the appeal against the refusal as unsubstantiated/upheld on 11/02/2022 by the Southern Military Circuit Court.
|On 21/07/2021 the applicant was convicted under
Article 18.7 of the CAO (failure to comply with orders of a border-control officer) by the Neklinovskiy District Court of the Rostov Region
|Rostislav Aleksandrovich KHRYAKOV
|Makarova Marina Vladimirovna
|On 28/06/2021 the applicant was arrested together with two other persons in Voronezh on suspicion of a kidnapping.
On the following day the court sentenced him to
15 days of administrative detention for petty hooliganism and placed him in the temporary detention centre for administrative offenders (the IVS).
On 01/07/2021 and 02/07/2021 FSB officers arrived at the IVS, took the applicant out of the cell and drove him to an undisclosed location where they subjected him to electrocutions on his toes, beatings, placement in stress positions and strangulation with a plastic bag to make him confess to the crime.
Upon his return to the IVS the applicant requested medical assistance but was only given disinfectants. No record of his injuries was made.
|Record at the Voronezh temporary detention centre for administrative offenders on 29/06/2021: no injuries on the applicant, no health complaints.
Forensic report of 05/10/2021 commissioned on 07/09/2021: several places of scarring and healed abrasions on the applicant’s body, the origin of the scars was not possible to establish.
|On 05/08/2021 the applicant lodged an ill‑treatment complaint with the Military Investigative Committee/On 06/10/2021 refusal to open a criminal case as the allegations were unsubstantiated.||On 13/12/2021 the Voronezh Military Garrison Court rejected the applicant’s appeal against the refusal to open a criminal case/ On 02/03/2022 the Western Circuit Military Court upheld that decision on appeal.||On 13/07/2021 the applicant was again convicted, this time of disobeying a lawful order of a police officer and sentenced to another
15 days of administrative detention in the IVS. Thereafter he was charged with kidnapping (Art. 126 of the Criminal Code) and transferred to a remand prison.
|Art. 5 (3) – excessive length of pre-trial detention – detention since 28/07/2021 when the applicant had served his 15-day administrative detention and continued his detention on remand within the criminal case of kidnapping; (the detention was authorised and prolonged by the Leninskiy District Court of Voronezh, Voronezh Regional Court); specific defects: use of assumptions, in the absence of any evidentiary basis, of the risks of absconding or obstructing justice; fragility and repetitiveness of the reasoning employed by the courts as the case progressed; failure to examine the possibility, as the case progressed, of applying other measures. The detention was still pending on the date of the introduction of the complaint with the Court on 25/06/2022.
|Danil Pavlovich PONOMARENKO
|Nurgaleyev Danil Ilnurovich
|At 01:20 a.m. on 06/11/2019 the applicant was stopped by officers of the Yakimanka district police station in Moscow for an identity check, during which the officers pushed him to the ground and subjected to kicking. They took the applicant to the police station for a search of his belongings and released him having found nothing suspicious.
|Certificate by Diagnostic Centre no. 5 in Moscow on 06/11/2019: bruises and abrasions on the body.||On 14/11/2019 complaint to the Moscow Investigative Committee / Refusals to open a criminal case: 15/12/2019, 22/06/2020, 07/05/2021 and 10/06/2021.||On 29/10/2021 the Taganskiy District Court dismissed the applicant’s appeal against the last refusal to open a criminal case as unsubstantiated/ upheld on 26/01/2022 by the Moscow City Court.||6,500|
|Maksim Aleksandrovich MEDVEDEV
|Andreyev Ashot Aleksandrovich
|The applicant was 16-years old at the time. Around
7 p.m. on 24/02/2021 the police arrested him on suspicion of a drug-related crime and escorted him to the Syktyvkar police station. When the applicant refused to give the officers access to his phone, they banged his head against the floor, pressed his head to the ground with a knee, twisted his forearms and stripped him naked. At 9 p.m. the applicant’s mother arrived at the station and saw her son naked and beaten. Although, the applicant complained about not feeling well, the officers refused to call an ambulance until 2 a.m. on 25/02/2021.
|Emergency medical call sheet
no. 100-21-22249.1 of 25/02/2021 by the Komi Emergency Medicine Centre: concussion, soft tissue contusions on the face and wrist abrasions.
Extract no. 2502 from the medical card of 09/04/2021: concussion, intracranial hypertension syndrome.
Forensic medical examination act no. 2/1159-21/1339-21 of 29/04/2021 by the Syktyvkar Forensic Bureau: abrasions around the temples and wrists.
|On 03/03/2021 the Komi Children’s Clinical Hospital transmitted the information on the applicant’s injuries to the police and a prosecutor. On 31/03/2021 the applicant and his mother lodged a complaint seeking opening of a criminal case / Refusals to open the criminal case: 12/04/2021, 24/05/2021, 23/07/2021, 17/11/2021, 20/05/2022, and 02/08/2022.||The applicant’s lawyer appealed against the refusals of 23/07/2021, 17/11/2021, and 20/05/2022 to the Syktyvkar Town Court. However, they were left without examination as the impugned refusals had been overruled or the court quashed the refusal and ordered an additional inquiry
(see Vanfuli v. Russia,
no. 24885/05, § 74, 3 November 2011, and Nechto v. Russia,
no. 24893/05, § 82,
24 January 2012).
|Art. 3 – inadequate conditions of detention during transport – the applicant complained of conditions during his transport between 22/02/2022 and 30/05/2022: passive smoking, inadequate temperature. He was transported in a van via a transit cell and had between 0.1 and 0.8 sq. m. of personal space for hours.||26,000|
|Svetlana Anatolyevna AMIROVA
Maysarat Magomedsaidovna KILYASKHANOVA
Iraida Valerianovna SMIRNOVA
|Valiyeva Elza Albertovna
|Applicants nos. 1 (Ms Amirova) and 2
are volunteers at a shelter for victims of domestic violence in Makhachkala, Dagestan, situated in a block of flats. Applicant no. 3
(Ms Smirnova) at the material time resided there together with, amongst other women, Ms T. from Chechnya.
At 4.20 p.m. on 10/06/2021 a police officer arrived at the shelter to question the women about the whereabouts of Ms T. who had been declared missing by her relatives in Chechnya. Ms T. stated to him that she was a victim of the domestic violence, that she did not want to return to Chechnya, that she stayed at the shelter on her own volition and that on 6 June 2021 she had informed thereof the Chechen law-enforcement authorities. The officer left and returned at
10.30 p.m. on the same day with a group of police officers, who broke down the door to the shelter, dragged Ms T. along with applicants nos. 1, 2 and 3 out of the premises. The barefoot women were carried down the stairs by the limbs, dropped several times on the way and then forced into the police car. The applicants were taken to the Leninskiy District police station and released the following day. Upon forcing the applicants out of the shelter, the police officers broke down the shelter’s CCTV cameras and removed memory cards from the applicants’ personal devices left behind.
|Applicant no. 1: certificate of the Dagestan Forensics Bureau no. 1332 of 13/06/2021 (seven bruises on both forearms and the elbow area, right shin, two abrasions on the right knee which could have been caused by a hard blunt object in the circumstances described by the applicant).
Applicant no. 2: certificate of the Dagestan Forensics Bureau no. 1330 of 13/06/2021 (four hematomas on both forearms and the elbow area, a hematoma on left shin and right hip which could have been caused by a hard blunt object in the circumstances described by the applicant).
Applicant no. 3: certificate of the Dagestan Forensics Bureau no. 1331 of 13/06/2021 (three hematomas on the left shoulder, six hematomas on the upper extremities, two hematomas on each hip, a bruise on each of the soles, two abrasions on the right knee which could have been caused by a hard blunt object in the circumstances described by the applicant).
|On 13/06/2021 the applicants complained to the Leninskiy investigative department in Makhachkala/On 13/07/2021 first refusal to open a criminal case and on 30/08/2021 second refusal as it was established that the use of force was justified.||On 18/03/2022 the Leninskiy District Court in Makhachkala rejected the applicants’ appeal against the last refusal/ On 23/05/2022 the Supreme Court of Dagestan upheld that decision.||26,000,
to each of the applicants
|Ruslan Sergeyevich MINASOV
|Valiyeva Elza Albertovna
|On 10/07/2020 the applicant had a brawl with his girlfriend in a street and the police was called. Officers decided to take the applicant to a police station, but he refused. The officers shoved him to the ground and started beating and kicking him. Then they handcuffed him, put him in the boot of their car, and took him to the Yakimanka district police station in Moscow. The ambulance was called for the applicant upon arrival at the station.||Extract no. 20-09/4979-1 from emergency medical call sheet no. 007726507 of 10/07/2020 by the Pirogov City Hospital: concussion, closed craniocerebral injury, closed nose fracture, and limb abrasions.
Discharge certificate no. 47560 of 15/07/2020 by the same hospital: concussion, closed craniocerebral injury, spinal cord injury, soft tissue contusions on the chest, multiple bruises on the upper and lower limbs.
Forensic medical examination act no. 2124105261 of 25/05/2021 by the Moscow Forensic Bureau: abrasions to the face, forehead, body and extremities, caused by hard blunt objects.
|On 19/07/2020 the applicant’s father complained to the Moscow Investigative Committee / Between 19/08/2020 and 27/08/2021 six refusals to open a criminal case; on 27/08/2021 the last, seventh, refusal issued as the use of force was justified.||The applicant appealed against the last refusal asking to open a criminal case/ On 21/04/2022 the Taganskiy District Court of Moscow dismissed the appeal/On 29/08/2022 the Moscow City Court upheld that decision.||52,000|
[i] Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants.