Shestopalov v The Russian Federation

Legal Case - Third Party Intervention

This case was brought by an applicant who was arrested on 24 May 2004 (at the age of 17) and taken to the Sovetskiy district police station of Nizhniy Novgorod for questioning concerning the rape of a former female school classmate (‘the victim’) which had occurred on 15 May 2004.

The applicant alleges that, while in custody, six or seven police officers handcuffed him and tied his head to his legs while he was sitting on the floor. They beat him, sat on his back, and strangled him with two sticks and by putting a plastic bag over his head. The applicant signed a statement in which he acknowledged a voluntary sexual intercourse with the victim on 15 May 2004. Then he was taken to a prosecutor for further questioning during which he confirmed this.

At around 9 p.m. the applicant returned back home. On 25 and 26 May 2004 the applicant was examined by a doctor in a hospital. He was found to have closed craniocerebral injuries, brain concussion, multiple bruises and abrasions on his chest and knees. The applicant’s forensic medical examination revealed multiple bruises and abrasions on his ears and both hands.

On 26 May 2004 the victim gave a written statement (расписка) to the applicant’s family that the applicant was not the person who had raped her.

The applicant and his mother complained about the treatment that the applicant received while in custody. An investigation was undertaken. During the course of this investigation, the applicant identified a police officer as one of those who had ill-treated him. However, on 19 April 2007 the criminal proceedings were suspended on the grounds that it was not possible to identify those responsible and that all possible investigation measures had been carried out.

On 17 November 2008 the Sovetskiy District Court of Nizhniy Novgorod acknowledged that the applicant’s injuries had been caused during his detention at the police station on 24 May 2004 and awarded him 50,000 rubles (approximately EUR €1,030) as compensation for immaterial / moral damage.

Under Articles 3 and 13 of the European Convention of Human Rights, the applicant complained to the European Court of Human Rights that he had been tortured in police custody and that no effective investigation into his complaint was carried out. He also complained that the compensation he received in respect of immaterial / moral damage was insufficient to redress the infringement of his rights.

In January 2014 the European Court of Human Rights granted REDRESS permission to intervene in the case as a third party.  REDRESS filed its comments in the case on 18 February 2014, setting out international standards and comparative jurisprudence on the:

i. effectiveness of investigations, including the requisite level of evidence required to prosecute, where several law enforcement agents are alleged to have been involved in the commission of acts of torture or other internationally prohibited ill-treatment; and

ii. factors to be taken into consideration when determining the adequacy of damages awarded by national bodies in cases of torture and other internationally prohibited ill-treatment.

Our intervention is available here:

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