ADC Memorial demands to investigate the assault on Filipp Kostenko

On February 6th, 2012, ADC “Memorial” filed a request with the Investigative Committee of St. Petersburg and Leningrad region to investigate the crime that occurred in relation to its employee, Filipp Kostenko. The request includes refutation of information that has been published on the official site of the Chief Directorate of the Internal Affairs (GUVD) on February 4th. GUVD reports that it is considering to refuse to initiate criminal proceedings, based on the fact that Kostenko did not want to file a complaint about the crime; moreover, it is being asserted that Kostenko refused to get medical help that the police had summoned. Human rights defenders insist that, contrary to the information provided by the GUVD, Kostenko did not refuse to confirm the facts of his assault or his abuse by unknown persons; in fact, he discussed this with the police and the doctors. According to the law, the investigators are supposed to come to the hospital, where Kostenko is currently in a critical condition, yet the police still have not visited nor officially interrogated him. ADC “Memorial” possesses the evidence that the Ambulance crew came to Kostenko before the police officers did, who arrived during the medical examination and preparation to take him to the hospital, as well as the proof that the police officers illegally demanded that Kostenko refuses, in writing, to file a complaint.

ADC “Memorial” strongly opposes the intention of the GUVD, published on their official website, to refuse to initiate criminal proceedings on Kostenko’s assault. A thorough investigation of this crime has important social significance. The human rights activists are confident that this was a public crime, since Kostenko was not simply beaten, but also was subjected to a cruel attack, threats and intimidation in connectionto his active civil position and professional activities. The fact that, not long before the assault, Kostenko faced repression makes this attack an especially conspicuous event. Additionally, Filipp Kostenko received threatening letters from a person, calling himself “Vasily Trifan” (this is a real name of an officer from the Centre for Combating Extremism), which implies that there is a connection between the attack and other forms of persecutions (whoever the real author of this letter is).

The attack on Filipp Kostenko can be compared with the infamous, highly publicised beating of the journalist Oleg Kashin in 2010. The injuries that were inflicted on Kashin (broken fingers, injured head) had, according to popular opinion, the goal of stopping his professional activities. The strangers that attacked Kostenko aimed to break his legs and injure his head, so that the activist would stop all his protesting activities in the pre-election period, including preventing him from participating in the peaceful demonstration on February 4th.

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