2008/02/21 "Investigators violated the law"
  • Press release N 16/1017
  • 21/02/2008                                                                                                           

TODAY, 21st of February 2008, the Ryazan garrison military court determined the case of the dead soldier Marat Gizatullin (born in 1986) from Bashkortostan. His parents had been searching for the truth for two years. The decision made by the judge Igor Drugachenko can be considered a sample of the text that shows a fair position of the court in such cases (The Foundation will publish it in the fourth publication of "Legal advice"); it gives the unhappy parents the hope they had almost lost.

The story of Marat's death is as follows. He was called up to the military service on the 29th of June 2005 in troop unit 41450 (airborne-landing forces) in Ryazan. He served there for 7 months. On the 17th of January his parent's got a letter where they said that their son on the 10th of January their son left the unit without leave (later the dates of Marat's leaving from the unit were changed several times: 9-10-12-13th of January). The father Firdaus Shaykhulovich after the news of his son's loss went to Ryazan on the 24th of January to find him. The authorities of the unit could explain nothing and did not help in the search. The farther was looking for the son in Ryazan for three weeks from dawn till night: he pasted his son's photos in the town, addressed to him over mass media. He remembers his overnight stays in the barrack with terror: "I watched beating of soldiers. They stopped when they saw me. I saw soldiers with mydriatic pupils but with no scent of alcohol. I saw that Major Frolov sent his soldiers to bring vodka and snack. Our friends from Bashkortostan saw how soldiers carried out drunken officers from the barrack. Many soldiers wore bruises on the face, even sergeants." The search was not a success; the parents knew nothing during several months. On the 12th of April the military enlistment office got a message from the troop unit. It said that Marat Gizatullin was found in a loop not far from his unit.  The parents were shocked they could not even imagine such an end: "If he had run away he would return home but not committed suicide after two and half months", - the father said. The parents opened the arrived coffin in the presence of many people: "We opened it and were terrified. He was bitten cruelly, covered with bruises. The head went easily as if there were no bones in the neck. Instead of the nose there was a black hole as if a dash had been done. WE, his parents who brought him were unable to recognize him. WE recognized him only by the distinguishing  features. We are sure he was killed in the unit and then they secretly taken him out and staged a suicide."

The Gizatullins' life became a hell. First they hoped that the investigators would find the truth of Marat's death and the guilty would be punished. However the Military prosecutor's office of the Ryzan garrison who investigated the case for 5 months first rejected to admit them the victims to the case. Then on the 11th of August they closed the criminal case as they decided that Murat's death was a suicide. Studying the case documents the parents were stressed again: anyone could understand that the investigation was improper. First, the forensic medical examination within the framework of investigation did not fix those injuries seen by the parents. Second, some evidence found near the body was not studied, many facts were not estimated. For example, Marat's boot had a white line resembling the dragging, near the body was a cap with red brick scree (there were no building of red brick on the scene), among the belongings there was a notebook with somebody's else name (the investigators did not find out whose name it was), they did not try to find out what Gizatullin had been doing during his three-month disappearance. Third, the witnesses on the case who might give the full information as there were his friends who keep I touch with him (All these violations were mentioned in today's decision by the Ryazan garrison military court).

The parents were mostly revolted by the fact that not admitting them the victims to the case (by that they impeded them to realize their procedural rights during the investigation) and conducting improper investigation, the investigators came to the conclusion that their son was a suicide. Fortunately, the Gizatullins' turned to our Foundation in time and we recommended to record all injuries on their son's body. They made a lot of photos as well as video. Now we have a possibility to give all documents we have for examination to independent medical examiners within the current project "Independent examination in cases of servicemen's death". Here are the results:

The consultary medicolegal report of an independent expert in the sphere of legal medicine, Doctor of medicine Airat Galimov: "The most probable reason of mechanical asphyxia in this case is in the result of respiratory tract closing. It could happen if the mouth and nose were covered with an object(s): possibly, arms or synthetic film. Later on, after some hours (or dozens of hours) the corpse could be hanged by the neck by an outsider(s)." The report of the second independent expert Tagir Kazykhanov says about injuries not described in the official expert's report on the body of the dead soldier. He also casts doubt on the reasons of Gizatullin's death.

With these independent experts' professional assessment the Mother's Right Foundation sent a claim to the Ryazan garrison military court. The court sitting took place yesterday, 20th of February, the decision was made today. The lawyer of the Mother's Right Foundation Anna Mukaseeva spoke in favour of the parents of the dead soldier. The Foundation's position was as follows: a) admit illegal and unfounded the decision to stop the criminal case investigation by the investigator of the Ryazan garrison; b) cancel the decision; в) renew juridical proceedings on Marat Gizatullin's death, enforce the parents' rights.

A representative of the prosecutor's office, the assistance of the judge advocate of the Ryazan garrison, justice captain Sergey Ryshlyakov came to the court. He asked the court to dismiss the claim and was against to deposit the report of medical examiner Kazykhanov to the case documents. The court granted the Foundation's request to deposit the given report (Galimov's opinion was sent to the court together with our claim).

On the claim the attorney Ryshlyakov said that prosecutors held all necessary investigative actions to the case, the protocol to the scene examination was done according to the rules and there "is no basis not to believe the protocol".

The judge to the attorney: "Did you undress Gizatullin during entering data to the protocol on the scene?" The attorney: "No, he was not undressed fully, not expected. During medical examination there found only constriction ligature mark and death spots". The judge (during preparation to the process he thoroughly studied four volumes of the case, the photos and video of injuries): "I saw the photos and video. The injuries are evident".  The attorney: "The video and photos were studied; medical examination did not find any injuries." The judge: "What about scratches? I saw them myself. Let's bring the necessary equipment and see again. There are scratches but they described nowhere!" The attorney: "There is no basis to discredit the expert". The judge: "Why were the parents not admitted the victims to the case?" The attorney: "The facts of acts of violence were not found. There was no basis to admit them the victims." The judge: "The criminal case on the article "incitement to suicide" was opened. The investigation took place but there was no basis to admit the parents the victims to the case?" The attorney could not give reasonable explanations to the court of the fact.

TODAY, 21st of February, the court made a decision and marked: "According to article 13 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms the peculiarity of legal remedy foreseen for the dead soldiers' relatives envisages real access for them to the legal proceedings. Thus the court considers it indisputable that according to the ambiguous reports on the M. Gizatullin's death reasons seen from the case documents (then the court enlisted various blunders of the investigators) the parents of the dead soldier were disabled to realize their processing rights envisaged by article 42 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Russia. The court considers this fact to be a breach of the law by the investigators." The court granted the Mother's Right Foundation's claim.

The decision came into force.

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