26 June is International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

On this International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, ADC “Memorial’’ believes it is essential to remember two contemporary cases still making their way through the courts in St. Petersburg. In these two exceptionally telling cases, the accused not only deny involvement in their alleged crimes but were also the victims of torture used by investigators to force confessions.

In the case of the explosion in the subway, many people, including Akram Azimov, reported that he was taken out of Kyrgyzstan directly from the hospital, after which he was tortured in an unknown place for several days, and then a staged video was made about the detention, which allegedly took place in Russia. Akram Azimov (like his accomplices, the Ermatov onbrothers, Abror Azimov and others) spoke about unbearable torture by electrocution, suffocation, and threats of sexual violence: “I told them everything they wanted to hear, everything they convinced me of. I was ready to sign whatever they would give me to stop torturing me.”

Viktor Filinkov, an anti-fascist accused of participation in the terrorist group “Network”, told in detail in court that his first confession was extracted by torture (later Filinkov refused to confess guilt and testimony given under torture).

These cases show that in the fight against real or perceived terrorist threats, security services (police, UK, FSB) willingly use torture.This violates the rights of the accused, as well sows distrust about the conclusions of said investigations as well as the original circumstances and perpetrators of socially significant crimes (such as the explosion in the St. Petersburg subway in 2017, which claimed many lives).

Torture should be banned from interrogation and criminalized, and the investigators who use it should be prosecuted to the full extent possible.