Svetlahorsk investigator refuses to see arbitrariness of the local police
“Who am I complaining to?” - that's the question asked to the regional prosecutor by the mother of Aliaksandr Akulich who died in the temporary detention facility of Svetlahorsk District Police Department. Despite the numerous inspections in this case, the contradictions in the testimonies of the police guards, pointed at by human rights defenders and the court, are ignored by the investigator Viachaslau Petachenka.
Valiantsina Akulich filed an appeal to the prosecutor of the Svetlahorsk district against another ruling (dated February 7, 2015) of the investigator, who refused to initiate a criminal investigation into her son's death in the temporary detention facility of the Svetlahorsk Police Department in May 2012. In this appeal she presents a detailed account of the defects of the inspections, held by the investigator of the Svetlahorsk district department of the Investigative Committee. Members of HRC “Viasna” and the mother continue restlessly pointing at these defects, but the investigator keeps evading from their elimination in his further inspections.
We should draw your attention to some circumstances, pointed at in the appeal to the district prosecutor.
According to human rights activists, "the investigator believes, with reference to paragraphs 75 and 76 of the Internal Regulations of special institutions of the Interior, performing an administrative penalty in the form of administrative detention, approved by Decree No. 194 of the Ministry of Internal Affairs dated August 8, 2007, that the duty policemen are obliged to call the ambulance in case of complaints of any of the delivered administrative detainees about poor health or obvious signs of the disease only when accepting the detainee.
This explanation contradicts not only to common sense, but also to Article 23 of the Law "On the Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus" of July 17, 2007 № 263-Z, according to which "Employee of the Interior should take steps to provide immediate medical and other appropriate assistance to victims of crimes, administrative offenses and accidents, persons who are in a helpless state or in a state that is dangerous to life or health".
As it follows from the explanations of the duty policeman of the Svetlahorsk temporary detention facility R. Stseshankou, present in the materials of the inspection, he ignores his duty to call the ambulance immediately and behaves in accordance with his own understanding of his duties. "Yes he openly acknowledged that he was aware of the reasons to call medical staff – when a prisoner behaves inappropriately, shows signs of mental illness. However, in violation of these requirements, he decided to independently make sure whether the behaviour of the prisoner was not a simulation of disease. What instruction is it prescribed by? What medical knowledge does this policeman possess?” asks the appeal.
According to human rights, the investigator Petachenka needs to pay a more critical attitude to the attempts of the police and particularly Stseshankou to shirk responsibility. "This employee has completely forgotten what had happened solely in the circumstances that indicate his illegal behaviour. He forgot everything, even why he had put in advance a record about the use of police gear in the appropriate register, which he now states is inaccurate. Can this record be true? After all, he is an extremely professional and competent employee, if we believe to his characteristic. He forgot how long and where he had hit the prisoner - a man who was fully in his hands.
But some small details betray his insincerity: he says he “had no time” to call the ambulance for a dying man, as he was busy not only with holding him, but also with checking the cells. Is it more important than a human life?”
The complaint emphasizes that as long as the opposite is not proved and the objective evidence remains, there are all reasons to state that the beating of Aliaksandr Akulich and openly unprofessional and openly doomed attempts to fix the agonyzing patient with handcuffs with a long chain on the lattice lasted from 12.30 p.m. until his death after 1.00 a.m. During this time, three employees of the internal affairs deliberately ignored their duty to provide medical assistance to the person with an acute health disorder – because they didn't consider it their duty according to their understanding of the legislation determining the order of detention.
The mechanism of injury to Aliaksandr Akulich's legs remains undisclosed. In the investigator's ruling it was repeatedly stated that these injuries appeared when Akulich hit his bare feet against various surfaces. Let us remind, that according to the conclusion of the forensic expert, the study of the corpse started with the removal of clothes and then – shoes. "Indeed, questioning of the nurse “removed all doubts” in this circumstance. It was her, not the forensic expert, who “reassured” the investigator by stating that the removal of the shoes was just a mistake. How many mistakes are there in the forensic conclusion then?” argues the author of the complaint against the new ruling of investigator Petachenka.
No attention is also paid to the fact that the ambulance paramedic who came to the prison saw Akulich lying on his belly with his arm behind his back. Artificial respiration and heart massage are not performed in such a position. At the same time, there is no information that the position of his body was changed after giving respiration and heart massage to him. This circumstance, insist human rights defenders, refutes the explanations of the prison guards and needs to be considered when evaluating these explanations and the legality of their actions in general. "Why hasn't this fact been investigated? Of course, it is easier for the investigator to again question the paramedic who will then change her explanations without explaining the reasons. The report of the questioning, in which the paramedic pointed at these circumstances, was quite short. It was impossible not to see that the investigator incorrectly put down the witness's testimony, misrepresented or misunderstood them," reads the complaint.
The prosecutor is also reported that the investigator misjudged the theoretical explanations of the doctor-psychiatrist regarding the disease of Aliaksandr Akulich, as well as that the doctor was "too fast to make conclusions". "The doctor came to the conclusion that brain edema originated and developed in Akulich "fast" because he did not complain of pain, etc., so it was impossible to help him even in the case of medical intervention." According to human rights, is not true in the first place, because the conclusion is based on the incorrect information obviously given by the investigator to the doctor. "According to explanation of his cell-mate, arrestee Dzikun, dated May 22, 2012, “Akulich behaved quietly, but it was obvious that he was ill after a long drinking ... He drank a lot of water, sweating.” At 10 p.m. Akulich started hallucinating. So, maybe edema did not develop "fast", and the prisoner's life could be saved by a timely medical assistance?”.
Will Svetlahorsk district prosecutor discriminate in the questions, raised in Valiantsina Akulich's appeal? Police Department of the Homel Regional Executive Committee, where she had filed a similar complaint, had already sent a formal reply, cherishing the honor of the uniform.