Liudmila Kuchura does not give up in confrontation with investigative authorities
After a probe sought by the wife of prisoner Piotr Kuchura, Liudmila, the Mahiliou interdistrict department of the Investigative Committee refused to open a criminal investigation into the illegal actions of the administration of penal colony No. 15. Liudmila Kuchura has appealed the decision to the City Prosecutor.
The probe into the alleged poisoning of Piotr Kuchura in a punishment cell was launched in late May by the Investigative Committee’s Office in the Mahiliou region, after human rights defenders helped submit a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee, which reported on the deliberate use of bleach as a means of torture, cruel or inhuman treatment. In addition, Investigative Committee promised that the probe would include a forensic examination in order to identify the effects of poisoning in the body of Piotr Kuchura.
As a result, a decision of June 27 signed by senior investigator Skavarodkin refused to institute criminal proceedings. The decision enumerates the persons interviewed during the probe, including the staff and convicts of penal colony No. 15, as well as the medical records examined during the investigation. Mr. Skavarodkin says the prison administration staff were not involved in any actions constituting an offense under Article 426 of the Criminal Code “Abuse of power or official authority”.
In her complaint to the prosecutor of Mahiliou sent on July 17, Liudmila Kuchura says that the decision not to open a criminal case is illegal, arbitrary and subject to cancellation.
“Certainly, if the probe had been carried out in due time, it would be easier to find out the circumstances of the case. However, this does not mean that now they only needed to simulate activity rather than taking all legal measures in order to establish the full circumstances of the incident. I consider it necessary to supplement the materials of the probe with a forensic medical examination, which would not examine the medical records, but the victim himself in order to find any traits his exposure to the chemical. The fact that he was not provided with necessary medical assistance and was not examined in due time became the subject of my complaints. Therefore, it seems improper to justify the lack of records of injuries with absence of damage itself. Significant contradictions between the explanations of those interviewed needed to be eliminated. This can be done through confrontations, which is not provided by the law on criminal procedure at the stage of preliminary inquiries. Therefore, it is only possible to fully verify the arguments of the victim and the applicant after a criminal case is opened and an investigation is underway,” argues Ms. Kuchura.
In addition, when citing in her complaint the Principles for Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (known as the Istanbul Protocol), the prisoner’s wife states that during the probe by the Mahiliou interdistrict department of the Investigative Committee these conditions were not fulfilled.
Liudmila Kuchura asks the prosecutor to cancel the decision of Mahiliou investigators.