2009/05/26 "Bargaining on Funeral Feast or What Did Commanding Officer Derevyanko Do…?"


  • Press Release No. 43/1186
  • 26/05/2009

Today on May 27, the Orenburg Garrison Court proceeded with the case of the death of Roman Semenov from Penza. The charge of homicidal negligence (article 293, section 2) was raised against A. N. Ivanov, doctor-in-chief of a troop train. On September 2, 2008, Roman Semenov was suddenly taken from his work place to military unit 30785 for unit training assemblies. On September 3, together with other persons (60 in all) he was sent to a training camp in the Orenburg Region in a special so-called ‘people's carriage' (carriage with plank beds and an iron stove; the rest of the passengers - officers, army contractors, and other people, escorting the reservists - were in compartment carriages). Untill now, no one knows what happened to Roman Semenov during the journey. He arrived at Orenburg with his hands and legs tied with a rope and kidneys failing. He was taken to the resuscitation department directly from the train. September 5, 6 and 7 he spent in hospital his condition becoming still worse. The panel of specialist doctors decided that he needed a hemodialysis machine... that's why he was sent to Samara, though it was available in Orenburg. On his way to Samara, Roman died. Nobody called to his wife while he was dying in the hospital.

School teachers say that Semenov was a good parent. He was 37. He left a wife, Svetlana Nikolayevna Semenova, and two under age twins. Everybody who had known Roman was indignant with the version of his death suggested by military officials. According to the version, on September 4, Roman was in a fit of delirium tremens because he had spent many days taking alcoholic drinks before he was called-up; they called to him Ivanov, doctor-in-chief of the troop train. Ivanov measured his blood pressure and said that it was high - 220/130. He diagnosed the notorious ‘delirium tremens', gave two aminazin pills and sent him to the people's carriage. After some time, Ivanov was called to Semenov; he was told that the latter felt worse - he allegedly started the brawl and they had to tie his arms and legs with belts. Ivanov gave him two phenozepam tablets and left him tied for the night. On the morning of September 5, when the train arrived at the place of destination, Semenov was taken to hospital with the ‘crush-syndrome' diagnosis. This is a dangerous syndrome when blood circulation is cut off which causes necrosis and kidney failure. In this case, the syndrome developed because Semenov had been tied too long. Semenov suffered for a few days, and then died. The official version would have fit but for one thing. Roman Semenov was not an alcoholic (the fact was proved by all the documents submitted by the widow), so he could not suffer from delirium tremens. In the course of legal proceedings, we tried to find the answer to the question: ‘What did happen to Roman Semenov in the train?' Why did they tie him? But the Orenburg Garrison Court denied us of summoning the necessary witnesses, especially the experts whose opinion was so important. (Yesterday's court session - see Press Release No. 42/1185 of May 25, 2009.)

At today's court session, judge V.V. Osadchiy, refused to satisfy all our applications:

*- to file the medical literature (book ‘Legal Psychiatry') which gives definitions to alcoholism and delirium tremens (the description in the case materials does not coincides with that of the scientific literature);

*- to summon a witness, warrant officer Nesterov, who accompanied Semenov from his work to the military unit and asserted that the latter was sober; other offices asserted that Semenov was drunk when he arrived at the unit; the contradiction between the witnesses' evidence should be eliminated before passing a sentence;

*- to summon a nurse of the Orenburg Hospital, Panagayeva, who signed the evidence by Semenov (he allegedly could talk to the investigator for an hour but was not able to sign his evidence) but asserted that Semenov had not given any evidence at the hospital;

- the judge said that the case materials did not include Panagayeva's evidence; when the Foundation lawyer showed the evidence, the judge refused to summon the witness;

*- to summon a group of the witnesses who went to the unit training assemblies in the same carriage with Semenov and were not servicemen of the unit; according to the case materials, they watched the situation simultaneously, smoking by the carriage entrance which was impossible because there was not enough room for such a great number of people; their evidence were like the copies of each other which made us doubt about their having been interrogated.

Denying each request of the Mother's Right Foundation, the judge explained that ‘they had no relationship to the case.' (We have to admit that they had no relationship to the case because we should take into consideration that judge Osadchiy did not remember whether the evidence was in the case materials or not. The trouble is that all these applications are of great importance to the case of the death of Roman Semenov ...)

Then, the court proceeded to considering the compensation for moral damage. The Commanding Officer of Military Unit 30785, Sergei Valentinovich Derevyanko, who himself represented his unit yesterday and new about today's court session, did not arrive at the court today. Yesterday he came up to the widow of Roman Semenov. Perhaps you think that he wanted to apologize? For the negligence of doctor-in-chief Ivanov? Nothing of the kind. Svetlana Nikolayevna told, ‘He said that he would try his best that my claim for compensation never be satisfied...'

Let's drop the fact that the commanding officer's gesture was not at all nice and ask the question: ‘What's going on with the Orenburg Justice?' Why to promise to ‘try his best' and not attend the court session (if the commanding officer Derevyanko did not agree to satisfy the claim, he must have arrived, given his arguments, objected to the plaintiff, etc.)? What did the defendant mean...?


We've never come across such a meticulous judge, like judge Osadchiy who tried to find out how Semenova had managed to spend 17,000 roubles to bury her husband. (The burial ceremony was modest, even poor! But that did not stop the judge; according to his calculations, they should pay Semenova 8,000 roubles less.) Then, he did not like the burial feast, i.e. he did not like that it had been held not at home but at a café, that the widow had submitted an invoice instead of shop receipts. Then, the judge pointed out that Semenova had gone to Penza, for the interrogation, not by train but by car (the Volga car was purchased on credit and no one can pay it out at the moment). The judge said that the widow should have gone to the interrogator office by train, that she should have saved the money; that she should not have gone there by car because gas was so expensive...  Then, the judge, like Derevyanko yesterday, demanded that we give them our calculations on the compensation amount...  

Trying to educate the judge, we reminded him that according to the Russian law, the amount of compensation could not be calculated because the moral damage was not material, but our attempts were in vain - the judge wished to receive the calculations. Judge Osadchiy refused to hear our grounds for the suit ...

The investigation withered, like the flag of the Russian Federation which had been watching the Orenburg justice in the court hall.

After the break, the parties exchanged their pleadings; the public prosecutor demanded for the defendant 3 (three) years in a penal colony and 2 year deprivation of the right to hold a leading military position; the attorney of the defendant demanded a conditional penalty without deprivation of the right to hold a leading military position and to have a medical practice. The Mother's Right Foundation lawyer, Julia Lebedeva, demanded a maximum penalty of 5 year imprisonment and 3 year deprivation of the right to hold a medical and a leading position.  

During the pleadings, the Foundation lawyer mentioned numerous violations in the investigation and court examination.

The sentence in the case will be announced on June 1, 2009. Watch the Foundation's Press Releases!   

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