The world's deadliest job: defending human rights in Russia

Another group which lies victim to impunity is that of the Russian army. Last year some 471 soldiers died in what are described as "non-combat deaths", many of which result in little investigation. Veronika Marchenko chairs the Mother's Right Foundation, a non-profit organisation which deals with the proper investigation of these deaths.

We are normal people and we understand that we can't raise the dead, and we can't win all the trials. When we don't win quickly, we are ready for a long fight in order to make the law prevail. Now, for instance, we are expecting such a fight in the case concerning the death of Ivan Krasheninnikov.

Ivan Krasheninnikov was drafted on 27 November 2005. On 11 December 2006 he was found dead in the cellar of his barracks hanging from a belt. Krul and Aflistov, two sergeants of military unit 35652, were charged with harassment causing grave consequences. During the entire trial, the Mother's Right Foundation tried to draw attention to the fact that there were conflicting medico-legal reports in the case papers. The independent experts (invited by our foundation), contrary to the state ones, claimed that Ivan was first strangled and then hanged. Therefore, the investigators either caught the first persons they came across, or tried to present the murderers as simple bullies.

The trial took two years. Finally, Krul and Aflistov got 18 months and 12 months on probation, respectively, which is less than the legal minimum for the crimes they were charged with. The court refused to issue a special ruling on the investigator, Merkushev, who irreparably flunked the investigation of Krasheninnikov's death.

The court decision is outrageous. The Russian state is yet to worry about facing the judge and the investigator in the European Court of Human Rights... Meanwhile, we'll keep on fighting."

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