Committee Against Torture
In 1998, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Nizhny Novgorod region responded to human rights defenders’ application concerning the police torture, with the letter, in which, among other things, it is stated: «no „facts“ of applying „torture“ are revealed on the territory of the region».
In essence, this document provided the basis for creation of the Nizhny Novgorod Committee Against Torture in 2000. Since that time, the Nizhny Novgorod Prosecutor’s Office stopped using the word «torture» with quotation marks, and the notion itself became an established fact. Without quotations, either.
In the course of time, the Committee Against Torture started to work in other regions of Russia, too, using its own procedure and method of public investigations. By 2020, thanks to the organization’s lawyers, 147 law-enforcement officers were convicted for the same «fact of applying torture», the existence of which was denied by the Nizhny Novgorod Prosecutor’s Office.
In January 2015, the Ministry of Justice of Russia added the Committee Against Torture to the register of «foreign agents». Later on, this fate awaited the successor of the dissolved organization — the Committee for Prevention of Torture.
At the present time, the Committee Against Torture is operating under its historic name.
Since the moment of its establishment, the main line of activity of the Committee Against Torture involves:
- public investigation of complaints against torture, inhumane or degrading treatment;
- representing the applicant’s interests in the investigative bodies and the court;
- rendering assistance in obtaining compensation, as well as, if necessary, in conducting medical rehabilitation activities.
The procedure and methods of public investigation based on complaints against tortures and brutal treatment are the Committee Against Torture’s own unique development. In the framework of the public investigation, the lawyers of the Committee conduct independent investigation, and its results are used as admissible evidence in the framework of the official investigation, and then — during the court hearings. Professional legal approach to resolving problems connected with protection of rights and legal interests of citizens is the trademark of the organization. This approach, successfully implemented during the whole period of the Committee existence, has become the recipe for success of the organization.
Since start of work, the CAT specialists checked over 2500 complaints related to human rights violations, performed hundreds of investigations, successfully achieved that the state and its representatives paid over 90 million rubles as compensation to citizens who suffered from illegal activities of law-enforcement officers. In addition, as a result of the efforts of the organization’s lawyers, 147 representatives of law-enforcement bodies were convicted for torture cases which reached the court and the verdict by January 2020.