Posted 5 марта 2021,, 16:34

Published 5 марта 2021,, 16:34

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Lifehack from a human rights activist: what to do if a police officer wants to get you searched

Lifehack from a human rights activist: what to do if a police officer wants to get you searched

5 марта 2021, 16:34
It should be well remembered that the only reason for the search of your personal belongings for police officers is solely the suppression of an offense or crime.

Novye Izvestia has already published several tips from the Moscow human rights activist and civil activist Irina Yatsenko on what to remember and how to behave when meeting with police officers who suddenly showed interest in your person. Here's another tip:

“When talking to police officers, always be extremely wary. The policeman is not your friend. His main and only task is to accuse you of something. It doesn't matter what. There may not be any “I’ll show them my bag now, they’ll leave me behind faster” for you. Once, in front of my eyes, the police detained two guys for the fact that during the search they found the seal of the organization in one of them. The police considered this as possible evidence that the guys were forging checks. I did not have time to ask their names, so the department did not give me any information about them. I don't know what happened to them later. Maybe they let him go. Or maybe it's much worse. And it all started with a banal: show your bag for inspection.

So, today we will talk about the inspection and seizure of personal belongings.

Boring jurisms first. The first moment. The basis for the search is exclusively the suppression of an offense or crime. There is no other reason for conducting a personal search. In the same way as in the case of a passport - a police officer has the right to come up to you and demand to establish your identity or conduct an inspection only if you are committing some kind of offense at the moment. If you are just walking down the street (sitting on a bench, chatting with friends in the park, etc.), and people in uniform come up to you and demand to turn out their pockets, then first calmly ask the riot police about what they want get into your bag, and then calmly refuse to fulfill their illegal demands.

Remember the phrase: inspection is possible in order to detect objects of an administrative offense or crime.

Hence, in response to the request to show the bag, the logical question is: have I violated something? In connection with what you want to inspect me?

The policemen will convince you that this is not an "inspection", but an "external inspection", but you know that this is only slyness. And it would be more correct to say deception. "Inspection" can only be external - please, look, no one can prohibit this. But if they start to crawl into your pockets, demand to show the contents of the bag, then this is already pure inspection. And it needs a foundation.

Sometimes the police can use the following argument as justification: "We have a suspicion that you are making bookmarks". Well, like, they are looking for drugs from you. Or, another example: we want to make sure that your phone is not stolen, so unlock (!) And show the IMEI.

At this point, it is worth reminding the police that the presumption of innocence in our country has not yet been canceled. In short, its meaning is as follows: the accused is not obliged to prove his innocence.

No, I don't bookmark drugs.

No, my phone is not stolen.

If you, Mr. Polizar, think otherwise, then it is your task to prove my guilt, not mine. Until I am officially charged with what you accuse me of, I am not obliged to prove anything to you.


You know, in general it is terrible that in Russia, recognition is the queen of proof. You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot to solve a crime. You don’t need to be smart, shrewd, you don’t need to painstakingly collect evidence, search for fingerprints in order to find and jail a criminal. You can simply demand to turn out the pockets of the first guy you come across, whose eyes are red. It doesn't matter that it is from lack of sleep due to exams, and not due to drugs. Take his phone, throw pictures with bookmarks there - and here's a plan for catching drug couriers. And you know what? This is how it works. Appointing the first person they meet as a criminal, and not catching a real drug dealer - sometimes it seems that this is the only thing that the Russian police are capable of.

I always say, and I will repeat it over and over again. You have rights. Never give up your rights voluntarily.

Even if a person is really a drug courier, he is not obliged to prove his guilt. On the contrary, the law provides for the right not to incriminate oneself. The requirement to unlock the phone, to turn out the pockets, to show the contents of the backpack is a violation of this fundamental right: DO NOT - WITNESS - AGAINST - YOURSELF. Let the police look for another way, apart from torture and intimidation, to prove the guilt of a person - they have all the powers and means for this. And if they are unable to solve a crime without torture and intimidation, then they are not police officers. So it's time for them to strip off their shoulder straps and go to do some other work.

The second point is also legal. According to the law, from the moment of the proposal to undergo a body search (if there was no arrest or delivery to the police station), it is considered that an administrative offense case has been initiated against you. With all that it implies. That is, then you have the right to demand the involvement of a defense lawyer, to submit petitions and objections. Therefore, if, after your refusal to turn out your pockets, the police continue to insist that you turn out your pockets, show the contents of your bag or unlock your phone, then remember the second phrase: I do not refuse to fulfill your illegal demands, but I want a defender to be brought in from the moment of inspection. and also demand the participation of attesting witnesses during the search, video recording and drawing up a protocol of the inspection.

Remember: the inspection of personal belongings is possible only with the participation of attesting witnesses and drawing up a protocol. Only in exceptional cases, if there are sufficient grounds to believe that a person has a weapon, an inspection can be carried out without witnesses. I do not specifically refer to the norms of laws, if you wish, you can easily google the article numbers yourself, because in a stressful situation when communicating with policemen, you will forget all the articles. Remember the key: understood, video recording, protocol.

I once bickered for about ten minutes with the policemen near the paddy wagon, when they demanded that I show the contents of the backpack, and I refused, demanding the participation of attesting witnesses and video recording. “We are not inspecting you! But only externally we EXPLORE!", - the policemen repeated to me. “Outwardly, look as much as you want”, - I answered. "But if you want to get into my backpack, then I demand the presence of witnesses and video recording". And so in a circle. I was terribly scary, I stood alone, surrounded by at least a dozen police officers, I kept thinking that they would use physical force against me. But they did not dare. As a result, they pushed me into the paddy wagon without being examined. A small but pleasant victory.

The third moment. Very important. It concerns the seizure of things. I think everyone understands that seizure is also possible exclusively in the presence of attesting witnesses, with video recording and drawing up a seizure protocol. But there is one more important legal point. In accordance with the Code of Administrative Offenses, only those things that were the instrument of the offense are subject to seizure. Remember this. And, if, for example, your phone was not even approximately an instrument of committing an offense, then it cannot be seized.

In theory, for example, a poster or a T-shirt with a protest print may be seized (well, provided that we agree that participating in peaceful actions means breaking the law). The poster will be removed with almost 100% probability. The shirt is also likely to be taken away, so it is better to have a spare. But as for the phones ... No. Do not let go of the phone. Do not let it be taken away from you, unless it is taken from you by force. There is no need to fight, but be sure to record your disagreement with this lawlessness - even in the protocol, even in the explanations, even in the statement about the crime.

Ask questions! Nobody can deprive you of this right. Why do you need my phone? On what basis do you want to withdraw it? Why are you taking my personal item without a seizure report? Do you understand that you are now committing a malfeasance that can be qualified as theft? Not? Then I demand attesting witnesses, an inventory and a protocol of seizure. Otherwise, it is theft.

I already wrote about this, and I also want to repeat: remember, a smartphone is your lifesaver. The ability to make video, audio recording and access to the outside world in one bottle. The seizure of the phone is fraught with serious consequences - starting with the fact that you cannot report the detention to relatives or friends, and ending with the fact that you cannot report that you are being taken to court, and you cannot be told who your defense lawyer will be. court.

The trend to confiscate things has gotten worse and worse over the years. If earlier the phones were taken away sometimes when the detainees were already in the police station and they were placed overnight in KAZ - cells for administrative detainees - now the phones are withdrawn when the detainees are taken out of the police station and taken to the duty station. But the worst thing is that the phones began to be taken away just before being placed on buses. It turns out that the detainees cannot report from the paddy wagon that they are detained and they are being taken to the police station. At the police station, lawyers will not come to them, because no one knows that they are detained. In a day, the detainees will be taken to court - again without telephones, and they will not be able to find defenders for themselves. They will be sentenced to arrest, and the detainees cannot inform their loved ones that they are under arrest. And only after registration in a special detention center, the detainees will be able to report what happened to them and where they are. And you know what? In my opinion, this is terrible ... Why the police do this, I understand. With them, in general, everything has been clear to me for a long time. But that's why the detainees themselves voluntarily give their phones and passports before being placed in the paddy wagon - without witnesses, an inventory and a seizure protocol - I honestly don't understand ...

Do you remember the story in the OMVD for the Donskoy district in Moscow on February 2 this year? Eshniks came to the department and literally began torturing them - putting plastic bags on their heads and beating the detainees. This is because the phones were taken from everyone. Not withdrawn. And they just took him away before being placed in a paddy wagon. People didn't even try to prevent it. Nobody knew that they were detained. Nobody came to them as a protector. Nobody could make public what was happening to them in the department.

Here's another story for you. Last year I was detained at Lubyanka Square. When they brought us to the police department and began to take us out of the bus, they demanded that we give our phones. We refused of course. The police forcefully tried to lead us one by one to the duty unit, but we stood for several hours in the waiting room between the paddy wagon and the duty unit, in the coupling - literally - refusing to enter the duty unit one at a time and give away our phones. Three or four hours later, when they nevertheless took us away by force and began to take us inside one by one, there were already members of the POC in our police station, four lawyers were waiting near the checkpoint, and we managed to visit Dozhd and Ekho Moskvy live on air. , tell us what chaos with us the valiant law enforcers tried to crank up with the illegal confiscation of phones. Yes, we were eventually taken away. But everyone at the police station had defenders, and no one had their phones taken away.

And the last moment. If you were left for a day at the police station before the trial, then know that your administrative detention ends the moment you were taken out of the police station and taken to court. It doesn't matter that you are under escort. You are not formally detained. Therefore, those things that were confiscated from you when placed in a cell must be returned to you. According to law. In reality, policemen often leave your belongings as hostages at the police station. In case the court decides to return the protocol without consideration, then you cannot go home from the court, you will have to go back to the police station. And the policemen just need this to fix that shit, which they call a protocol on an administrative offense. So that's it. Never leave the police station without your belongings. The detention was terminated. There is a note about this in the detention report. Failure to return your phone upon termination of detention is a violation of your right to protection of private property. This is theft.

Do not pass by the duty section. Ask for a crime report form and write that the police did not return your personal belongings after being detained for 48 hours. Demand to register your application with the KUSP. Be persistent. If you are forcibly taken out of the duty station and taken to court without your belongings, report the theft of your phone in court. Ask the judge for a piece of paper, write that the police stole your phone from you, that after the termination of the detention, your personal belongings were not returned. That because of this you were unable to invite a lawyer to provide legal assistance. Leave at least some trace in the case file that your right to defense was grossly violated, and the things were not returned after seizure. Do not be silent. For if you are silent, then who will understand you?"