London court won’t extradite businessman to Russia due to tortures of defendants in ‘Penza case’

London court won’t extradite businessman to Russia due to tortures of defendants in ‘Penza case’
Aleksey Shmatko

The High Court of London decided to deny the extradition of a businessman from Penza, Aleksey Shmatko, to Russia.

It is reported by Mediazona with reference to the court decision.

As a basis for this decision, the court indicated information about the torture of the accused in the case of the “terrorist community Set' (Network)”.

Shmatko told in court that the accused in the Penza case Dmitry Pchelintsev and Ilya Shakursky told about the torture by FSB officers in the local jail-1, where he had previously been arrested.

In addition, the court took into account the articles of the honorary professor of Oxford University Judith Pallot, who collaborates with the European University in St. Petersburg, on the Penza case. In them, Pallot noted that Pchelintsev and Shakursky called guilty of torture the FSB investigator Valery Tokarev, who also led Shmatko's case. The court’s decision also states that if Shmatko was extradited, he would have been in the same Penza jail-1, the cells of which were overcrowded and the living conditions were unsatisfactory.

In this regard, the court concluded that in the event of Shmatko’s extradition, he would most likely be kept in conditions that violate article three of the European Convention on Human Rights (prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment). The impossibility of independent monitoring of conditions of detention in the jail increases this risk. Also, the High Court of London recognized the threat of violation in Russia of a businessman’s right to a fair trial (Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights).

Penza entrepreneur Aleksey Shmatko received a suspended sentence on a large-scale fraud case (part 3 of article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) in 2010. Shmatko claimed that in the Penza detention center he was beaten and tortured, calling the investigator of the FSB Tokarev responsible for the torture. Subsequently, a new criminal case was initiated against him – about fraud on a large scale (part 4 of Art. 159 of the Russian Criminal Code). In 2011, Shmatko left Russia, and in 2014 he sought political asylum in the UK. According to him, the case against him was filed after the refusal to give a share in his business to a senior FSB officer.

Recall that in the framework of the so-called ‘Penza case’ anti-fascists and anarchists, who were united by passion in airsoft, were arrested. The FSB claims that they were members of the underground organization Set' and planned to “shake the masses,” as well as preparing terrorist acts. Three of the defendants – Dmitry Pchelintsev, Ilya Shakursky and Arman Sagynbayev later told about torture with electricity in the basement of the Penza jail-1. According to them, the FSB officers thus demanded that those arrested admit guilt.

As a result of the torture, Pchelintsev slandered himself, but the ICR refused to initiate a case on the information received from him about torture. However, in early December 2018, the military investigation department of the Penza garrison overturned this decision and returned the materials for verification.

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