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Disabled student from Novosibirsk claims his confession of burning pro-war banners was tortured out of him

Dmitry Karimov, a 22-year-old resident of Krasnoobsk in Russia’s Novosibirsk region, claims that he had been tortured to confess to setting fire to two banners in support of the war in Ukraine. Karimov has a serious hearing disability, in addition to dysfunction of his central nervous system.

According to Karimov, five masked men detained him on his way to college on October 14. They dragged Karimov into a car and pinned him to the floor, and then drove him out to a forest. “They started scaring him and hitting him with a stun gun. They persuaded me to confess to burning the banner on the House of Scientists. I yelled and screamed for help, saying I didn't do it! They told me they would shoot me according to wartime laws, and offered to give my last words to my parents. I was scared to death and said that I would confess to everything,” Karimov told local publication NGS.

On the day of the arrest, Karimov's apartment was searched. The police seized a computer and multiple data storage devices. Karimov was returned home closer to the evening. He was diagnosed with bruises and abrasions from exposure to blunt objects on his hands and feet, as well as abrasions and burns on his shins. According to Karimov, the burns are traces of a stun gun.

The first arson to which he “confessed” took place in August. The second occurred on the night of September 30. On November 1, the authorities launched a criminal investigation on the “Deliberate damage of other people's property” against Karimov. According to an NGS report, the case files contain a video from surveillance cameras, which shows a man setting fire to a banner and running away from the place of the incident. The man in the video appears to be wearing the same glasses as Karimov.

“The files contain no substantial evidence of Karimov's involvement in the arsons, except for his confession. Karimov, due to his physical features, cannot move like the real arsonist (judging by the camera footage), they have a completely different physique,” Karimov's lawyer Yuri Golubitsky told NGS. He added that the investigation appointed a psychiatric examination for his client.

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