Research & Analytics

FSB Security Officers Are Not Punished for Torturing Ukrainians in Crimea

Torture stop

The results of the monitoring of the Crimean Human Rights Group confirm that after the Russian occupation of Crimea, the use of torture by the FSB and the police against Ukrainian citizens became not only systematic but also unpunished. As allegations of torture are not investigated, and in local “courts,” even in cases of sentencing for violence, the penalties are minimal. These are fines and probation. Promote Ukraine publishes some of the crimes of the Russian occupiers.

Brutal Beating for Laughter on the Street

It should be noted that a significant difference between the Russian Criminal Code and the Ukrainian Criminal Code is the lack of a special article that provides punishment for torture. And the practice of punishment for such crimes in the Russian Federation, extending to the occupied territory of Ukraine, is based on the use of Part 2 of Art. 117 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Torment with Torture), Part 3 of Art. 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Excess of Official Authority with the Use or Threat of Violence) or Part 2 of Art. 302 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Coercion to Testify the Use of Torture).

So, let’s consider the verdicts under these articles published on the websites of “courts” in Crimea.

Thus, according to Article 117 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation during the occupation of the Peninsula, only 24 cases were considered. Moreover, in 9 out of 10 cases, they were not related to the use of violence by government officials.

Only once a criminal case was instituted against officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine who sided with the Russian Federation. Namely, for actions committed before the occupation, when the accused were still employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. The sentence was 4 years and 2 months of probation.

In turn, all criminal cases on the fact of torture of politically motivated persecution “investigative bodies” in the Crimea initiate according to Art. 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Excess of Official Authority). Thus, torture from the standpoint of the investigative bodies of the Russian Federation is only one of the types of “Excess of Authority.”

Of the 64 published decisions under Art. 286 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation:

– 41 cases concern violence by the Russian military against comrades. It is noteworthy that in 25 cases the punishment was imposed only in the form of a fine. In other cases, it was conditional imprisonment with a minimum or lower than the minimum term.

– 7 cases were considered against representatives of the occupying power who exceeded their official powers. And this led to a loss of budget funds. All punishments are conditional imprisonment.

– 1 case concerned four employees of the State Border Guard Service of the Russian Federation who beat three citizens for trying to get to the Crimea from the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, bypassing the CPVR. All border guards were fined. This case, as well as the cases of the Russian military, was considered in the “Crimean Garrison Military Court.”

– 1 case involved two officers of National Guard of Russia who beat a young man for laughing on the street. He was beaten in the face with their feet and fists, which is part of the National Guard of Russia equipment. Punishment is 3 and 4 years probation. One of the mitigating circumstances for the “judge” was the presence of the medal “For the Return of Crimea.”

– 14 cases were “deserved” by employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation. 12 are on the fact of torture of suspects. There were 8 sentences – conditionally with a minimum term, 3 acquittals and 1 sentence – 8 months of imprisonment, including the time spent in a pre-trial detention center (this term is more than 4 times less than the minimum).

By the way, a similar minimum conditional term was set, among other things, for three employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation who beat and tortured a minor with electric shock for more than 4 hours. The other employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs are present in the case only as witnesses.

Also, one of the acquittals was passed against two employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, who as a result of beatings “tore” the victim’s abdominal cavity and beat the spleen. The “Court” accepted as evidence the testimony of other employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Of course, they claimed the innocence of the accused.

Courts Do Not Open Cases against Security Officers

It is interesting that on the websites of the Crimean “courts” there is no information about the consideration of cases against the FSB. At the same time, the vast majority of allegations of torture are recorded against them. In particular, Oleksandr Kostenko, Yevhen Panov, Volodymyr Prysych and other participants in politically motivated criminal cases were tortured by the FSB after their detention.

This, as well as the fact that all known cases against FSB officers were closed due to “lack of corpus delicti,” indicates the actual “immunity” of FSB officers.

Unfortunately, today in the Russian-occupied Crimea, violence by law enforcement officials is seen only as an abuse of power. In other words, “a government official is incapable of torture.” Human rights and the rule of law have not been heard of here.

Natalia Tolub

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