Stavropol’s regional court declined to outlaw refusal to initiate criminal proceedings on the complaint of Maxim Lapunov, the only person who suffered within the mass campaign against LGBT in Chechnya and dared to speak publicly about his experience. As the court ignored the numerous falsifications at the stage of pretrial investigation, the Russian LGBT Network and the Committee against torture plan to apply to the ECHR.
On November 26, Stavropol’s regional court supported the decision of the Essentuki city court made on August 22, 2018, and declined to outlaw refusal to initiate criminal proceedings on the complaint of Maxim Lapunov. On September 21, 2017, Maxim Lapunov filed a complaint concerning unlawful actions of law enforcement officers of Grozny to the Federal Investigative Committee. At the stage of the pretrial investigation, the investigator refused to initiate official criminal proceedings five times. Afterwards, representatives of Maxim Lapunov appealed the inaction of the investigators in the Essentuki city court.
On November 26, the court not only declined to outlaw refusal to initiate criminal proceedings, but also to add to the file the documents proving the inaction of the law enforcement agencies. Moreover, the court ignored the information referring to the falsification of the case materials by the investigator. The investigator Alexander Kozhev did not inspect fully the building where Maxim Lapunov was allegedly illegally detained. In accordance with the case materials, he inspected only 11 basement premises out of 17 existing. Moreover, as a proof of the inspection he attached the photos made by another investigator (and this another investigator – Igor Sobol – is even depicted at one of them). The judge Vyacheslav Soloviev also ignored the arguments of the Maxim Lapunov’s representative who pointed to the fact that investigation was conducted by the law enforcement officers of Chechnya.
As a result, the court considered Maxim Lapunov’s the complaint unlawful. The lawyer of the Committee against Torture Vladimir Smirnov stated that the decision would be appealed to the Cassation Court. Moreover, as Maxim Lapunov exhaust all available domestic remedies, the Russian LGBT Network and the Committee against Tortures plan to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.