Russia: activist refuses guilty plea in court, describes police torture

CONTENT WARNING: descriptions of police brutality and torture.

After admitting his guilt to the police during the investigation, Arman Sagynbaev, one of the people arrested in Russia in relation to the “Penza case“,  refused to plead guilty in court and explained that he was forced to his initial confession under torture.

In a statement released by his lawyer, Sagynbaev describes his arrest in May 2017 and the horrific treatment he received to extract guilty confession from him.

On 11th May 2015, at about 6 o’clock in the morning, the bell at the flat located in St. Petersburg where I stayed rang. I opened the door, because the people on the other side told me that the district police officer had come. As soon as I opened the door, at least four men immediately burst into the apartment. They started shouting, they pointed a gun at me, after which they put me face to the wall, handcuffed me and began to search the apartment.

After the search, I was taken to a burgundy minibus parked near the house. I do not know the model of the car. In this car, a textile bag was put on my head, and one person began to beat me all over my body and head demanding that I disclose the address of my actual residence in St. Petersburg.

Through the fabric of a bag on my head, I saw that I was beaten by a man of solid build, with blue eyes, and a distinctive tattoo on his left hand. (…)

Unable to withstand the beatings, I gave them my actual address. I was brought to the apartment I named, and it was searched without a warrant and witnesses.

After the search, I was again put in a minibus with a bag on my head.  At some point I realized that I was being taken outside of St. Petersburg, but I didn’t know where. During the trip I was with a bag on my head and handcuffs.

While we were driving, I saw through the fabric of a bag that the man with the tattoo, the one  who had beaten me before, pulled out a box  from under his seat. There were two switches at the top of the box. The tattooed man took out some wires out of the box and attached them to my thumbs. I was told that they will check if there is an electric current before they discharged electricity through the wires. It was very painful. (…) Along with this, the people in the car began to ask me various questions, including the questions about people I have never met. When I said I didn’t know them, I received another electric shock.

Also, I was hit hard on the head with a great force by some kind of thing, like a diary book. They asked me a lot of questions, including how to make explosive devices. When they didn’t like my answers, they beat me on the head and subjected me to more electric shocks until I gave them the answers they wanted. 

I was also told that if I’m not compliant, they can do anything to me and my loved ones, and there will be no consequences of their actions, as I’m a terrorist. I was told that they can rape my girlfriend, cut off her hands and burn her with soldering iron.

All these tortures lasted about four hours, but I can not say for sure, as I had trouble to keep track on time and I was very hurt. 

When I was finally brought to prison, there were signs of electric current discharges on my body, but nobody paid attention and it was not recorded.

Out of fear for the lives of my relatives, loved ones and myself, I testified against myself.

Arman Sagynbaev is one of the accused in the fabricated by the Russian Special Services large-scale criminal case against anarchists and anti-fascists, whom they declared members of the terrorist organisation called “The Network”. Russian authorities allege that “The Network” planned and prepared terrorist acts to be conducted during the presidential elections in March 2018 and the World Cup over Summer the same year.


Source and pic: Avtonom

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