Russia condemned for torturing suspect
The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday condemned Russia over the case of a man wrongly suspected of killing a police officer who was tortured by officers trying to extract a confession.
Oleg Kopylov, arrested in January 2001, was tortured for days during which he was "repeatedly beaten, slapped, kicked, threatened with rape; a gas-mask was put over his face and he was forced to inhale cigarette smoke," a court statement said.
"Electric shocks were given to various parts of his body, making him faint repeatedly," it added.
Kopylov, who suffered "very serious and irreversible" damage to his health, later retracted his confession and another man was convicted.
Given "the length and intensity of the ill-treatment" the Court held that it had "amounted to torture."
Kopylov lodged complaints against police but a final judgement in the case was not made until June 2008.
The officers involved received various sentences ranging from three years and three months effective imprisonment to two years and six months suspended with a two-year probation.
Kopylov was awarded by the domestic courts around 12,500 euros (16,300 dollars) for non-pecuniary damage.
But the court in Strasbourg described this as insufficient.
"Imposing rather lenient sentences so long after the events, had fostered the police officers' sense of impunity," it added.
© 2010 AFP