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Criminal case initiated against swindlers who had deprived pensioner of only housing

16 November 2016

As a result of the interference of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia the right of a pensioner to objective investigation of a crime against her has been restored. A criminal case has been initiated against fraudsters who had deprived the elderly woman of only housing.

Resident of Magnitogorsk P., the sister of pensioner and I category disabled person M., addressed the High Commissioner, with a complaint about an unreasonable refusal to launch criminal proceedings.

P. reported that as a result of a fraud of realtor U. her sister M.’s only apartment of 1.3 million rubles estimated value had been sold for 400 thousand rubles in 2013. Only a year after, the relatives and M. herself revealed the loss of the apartment when a new owner tried to move in it. At the same time, M. performed utilities payments properly and stated that she had not sold the apartment. According to her, she had borrowed 400 thousand rubles from the realtor, and had been returning him 20 thousand rubles each month.

As P. reported, medical and psychiatric examination of M. conducted in 2015–2016 had confirmed a number of age-related mental changes. Despite the numerous witnesses’ reports that the irreversible processes had begun in 2012, it was impossible to legally estimate the degree of mental disturbances that had taken place at the moment of the apartment’s sale back in 2013.

M. and her relatives had repeatedly requested to initiate a criminal case, and tried to dispute the apartment’ alienation in the court. Both law enforcement agencies and the court found that M. had voluntarily sold her only housing. In summer 2015, the enforcement proceedings to evict M. from the apartment were initiated. Having exhausted the legal means of protection, the victim’s sister appealed to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Russia.

In response to the appeal of the High Commissioner, the Prosecutor's Office of Chelyabinsk Region reported that an investigative authority had conducted an additional inspection. Following the inspection’s results, a criminal case under Article 159, Part 4 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (fraud that resulted in the deprivation of a citizen's right to housing) was initiated on 20 September 2016. The eviction of M. was stopped.

Thus, the violated rights of the pensioner have been restored only after the interference of the High Commissioner. The investigation of the case is followed up by the High Commissioner.

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