Two cases of torture have been reported in the Russian press this week. The first case involved Nizhniy Novgorod policemen who tortured two innocent men seven years ago; the second one occurred this New Years Eve, when a 19 year old army conscript was gang-raped and tortured by 40 of his comrades. Just a few days ago his maimed legs and genitals were amputated.
First about the police. Seven years ago, 22 year old Aleksey Miheev and his friend Ilya Frolov were asked for a ride by their 17 year old friend. They were going different directions and refused the girl in a ride. She took the bus and didn't get home that night. The two young men were accused of raping and killing her and were arrested the same day. After the arrest they were "questioned" at the local police station for five days in a row, 10-12 hours a day.
Ilya Frolov signed the documents stating that he had committed the crime; his 22 year old friend refused to do so. Local prosecutors joined the officers in questioning the "untruthful" man. He cracked when he was told how he would be treated once in jail, but he couldn't say where the body was. Officers threatened him and then applied electric shocks to his genitals.
After extracting Frolov's "confession", the officers went to a near-by room to have another drink; seeing his chance, Aleksey Miheev jumped out the window from the third floor. He landed on a police motorcycle and broke his spine in several places. The same day the 17 year old girl came home, having spent the week at her friends' house.
For seven years this case has been litgated in "independent" Russian courts. The human rights organizations made it a fight for justice, and the case landed in the European court of Human Rights. Today the decision was made, and Russian government owes Aleksey 250,000 euros in damages and lost wages. Aleksey can't walk and has spent seven years in hospitals fighting for his life. He feels vindicated by the European court's decision. The officers who tortured the man were sentenced to 4 years in prison.
Now about the most recent Russian army topic; it's short and disturbing. In Chelyabinsk Military Academy, where young soldiers are trained to be Russian officers, on January 3, 40 conscripts along with their supervisors became drunk and tortured Andrei Sychev. First he was raped by the men, and then he was forced to stand in a sit-up (chair) position for the rest of the night.
Andrei couldn't walk next day and pleaded for medical attention, however he was ignored by his fellow officer candidates and their superiors. A few days later he was hospitalized with gangrene. Recently doctors had to amputated his legs and genitals, and each day of Andrei's hospitalization cost $2,000.
Andrei's mother and girlfriend are with him at the hospital. The mother recalls Andrei's desire to serve in the military, save up some money for a car, and have a big family. None of these dreams will ever come true for this 19 year old boy. The state usually leaves the victims without any support, Andrei might be able to count on a $50 per month disability check for the rest of his life.
The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov was asked by journalists about the situation, and he replied "I haven't heard anything. I'm sure nothing serious has happened. If it had, I would've known about it". A few hours later, Mr. Ivanov was briefed in the Kremlin and changed his statement. The Army would conduct a full investigation, he said. Ivanov's remarks came too late for the Soldiers' Mothers Committee of Russia, which is outraged with this latest example of the brutality and indifference of the State.