In July 2012 Stepan Patryshev approached ADC “Memorial” for legal assistance in the case of violation of his rights during a detention by the police officers of the 76th police station in Saint Petersburg, namely captain A.Koshelev, head of the shift, assistant to the police officer on duty, police officer on duty and the former head of the police station V.Zasypkin (some of the officers mentioned had since left the police service).
Patryshev was detained back in December 2011 during a “massive presence of citizens” near Gostinny Dvor metro station. He was taken to the police station №76, where he was held overnight for a total period of 18 hours. The conditions of the detained were not up to the standards outlined by the Statute on the conditions for persons detained for administrative violations (adopted by the government resolution № 627 dated 15.10.2003). In particular, the detained were held there with violations of the appropriate space, they were not allowed to go to the toilet for long periods of time, no sleeping places and food were provided to them. Besides that Patryshev complained of rude ill-treatment, which humiliated his human dignity, as well as threats from the officers of the police station №76. He also complained that because of the detention he was forced to be absent from work and his relatives were worried about him.
Following administrative court hearings of the case on Patryshev’s detention, he was acquitted by the justice of peace based on the lack of violation on his part. Later Patryshev together with the lawyers of ADC “Memorial” appealed to court with a civil claim and asked for compensation of moral damage for illegal detention and violations of the terms of detention at the police station №76. In January 2013 Patryshev’s appeal was handed to Smolninsky district court of Saint Petersburg against the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of interior for Saint Petersburg and the police department of the Central district of Saint Petersburg as the defendants. After several court hearings, during which the judge K.Golikova studied the case, witnesses of the detention were called to court. The witnesses, who turned out to be employees of a private security company, which cooperates with this police department on a regular basis (they are usually being called as witnesses of detention), testified that they were present in a different room, didn’t witness the process of filling out the protocols of detention and could not confirm that the rights of the detained were read out to the latter. They also testified that they were not present during search, dactyloscopy procedure and placement of the detained into the cells. They had only signed all the papers that were provided by the police officers for all the detained persons. The court has decided that this was not a significant violation as was indicated in the appeal by the claimant and stated that the complaints of the claimant were not proven by the witnesses. This was done in spite of the fact that the judge had in his possession all the materials of the case, including the protocols of detention. However, Stepan Patryshev had received from the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of interior and the procurator’s office of the Central district written responses to his complaint, which had confirmed that there had been violations of the conditions for holding detained persons in the police station №76, while the Chief directorate of the Ministry of interior for Saint Petersburg had also given its written apologies to Patryshev. These letters were added to the materials of the case on the request of the lawyers of the claimant.
On July 25, 2013 judge K.Golikova ruled against all the claims made by Patryshev, stating that these violations had not been proven and the claimant has failed to make an appeal during the three month period established for claims against illegal actions of police officers, in spite of the fact that Patryshev had made a civil appeal, for which the prescription period is three years.
The lawyers of ADC “Memorial” made an appeal against this decision of the judge to the Saint Petersburg city court. During the court hearings on October 31, 2013 the collegium of judges headed by the reporting judge T.Vologdina considered the appeal. The judges heard the position of the attorneys, the claimant himself, as well as the defendants – representatives of the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of interior for Saint Petersburg, police department of the Central district of Saint Petersburg, directorate of the Federal treasury for Saint Petersburg. After studying the materials of the case, the collegium of judges overruled the ruling of the judge of Smolninsky district court and ruled that the claimant should receive Rb5000 as a compensation for moral damage, as well as a compensation for his expenses for issuing a legal authorization for the lawyers and a state fee.
Saint Petersburg city court ruling has de facto confirmed the violations on the part of police officers while the latter had made detentions back in 2011. The claimant himself has stated that he had decided to make a legal claim against the police officers in spite of a feeble hope that his claim would have any effect, because his human dignity was hurt by the law enforcement officers. As Patryshev stated in his claim, “realization of the fact that police not only doesn’t protect my legal rights as a citizen, but itself poses a direct threat to my health and well-being, as well as to that of the the members of my family, had resulted in a feeling of helplessness in me”. Decision of the Saint Petersburg city court allowed Stepan Patryshev to hope that justice could be restored even in cases when the violators are the representatives of state bodies of authority themselves.