08 April 2010, Thursday

The European Court of Human Rights has found Russia responsible for the disappearance and death of 11 civilians detained or killed by Russian forces in Chechnya and Dagestan between 2000-2005, Russian Justice Initiative reported today.  

The applicants in Abayeva and Others v Russia are the mother, wife and son of Magomed-Ali Abayev and the mother of Anvar Shaipov, who were stopped at a checkpoint less than one hundred meters away from the house of Magomed-Ali Abayev in Urus-Martan, Chechnya. The Russian servicemen took their passports and one of the soldiers took the men into the building. Their detention was witnessed by neighbors and other local residents. Since that day the men were never seen alive again.  

The applicant in Abdurashidova v Russia is the mother of 7 year-old Summaya Abdurashidova, who was killed during a raid on their house by local interior ministry forces in the village of Solnechnoye, in the Khasavyurt district of Dagestan. The applicant’s house as well as her personal possessions were destroyed during the raid, and the family's identity documents, including passports and birth certificates, were confiscated by the servicemen. 

The applicants in Mudayevy v Russia are the father and aunt of Aslan and Mokhmad Mudayev, who were apprehended in the course of a special operation on 29 January 2003 in the village of Raduzhnoye in Chechnya. Military servicemen broke into the Mudayevs’ house and forcibly took away the Mudayev brothers. On the following day everyone detained during the special operation was released, except for Aslan and Mokhmad Mudayev. The last two were never seen again.   

The applicant in Sadulayeva v Russia is the mother of Aslan Sadulayev, who was stopped for an identity check at a Russian federal mobile checkpoint at the intersection of the road to the village of Komsomolskoye and the road from Alkhazurovo to Urus-Martan on 9 December 2002. At the same time a bus was also stopped at the intersection. Passengers on the bus witnessed how Aslan Sadulayev was forced to drive in the direction of Urus-Martan, surrounded by APCs. That was the last time Aslan Sadulayev was seen alive.  

The applicants in Seriyevy v Russia are the father and sister of Sarali Seriyev, who was abducted in 2004 by Russian military forces. Sarali Seriyev was disabled, having lost his right hand, three fingers on his left hand and vision in his right eye in the year 2000. The official investigation into the disappearance of Sarali Seriyev did not yield any conclusive results as to his fate.  

The applicants in Umalatov and others v Russia are the father and wife of Usman Umalatov, who disappeared after being taken into custody by the security forces on 15 October 2002. The third applicant is the father of Shamad Durdiyev who disappeared following the same operation by the security forces.

The applicants in Tasatayevy v. Russia are the mothers of Aslan Tasatayev and Aslanbek Tasatayev, of whom they have had no news since the early hours of 1 June 2001 when they were taken away from the family home by 30 masked men, some armed with sniper rifles, accompanied by a sniffer dog. 

In its unanimous judgments, the European Court found that:

The right to life has been violated in respect of Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev (Tasatayevy), Sarali Seriyev (Seriyevy), Aslan Sadulayev (Sadulayeva), Aslan and Mokhmad Mudayev (Mudayevy), Magomed-Ali Abayev and Anvar Shaipov (Abayeva and Others), Usman Umalatov and Shamad Durdiyev (Umalatov and others) who must be presumed dead (Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights);

  • The Russian authorities failed to conduct an effective investigation into the above violations (Article 2);
  • The Russian authorities failed to take reasonable measures to prevent a real and immediate risk to the life of Summaya Abdurashidova (Article 2);
  • Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev (Tasatayevy), Sarali Seriyev (Seriyevy), Aslan Sadulayev (Sadulayeva), Aslan and Mokhmad Mudayev (Mudayevy), Magomed-Ali Abayev and Anvar Shaipov (Abayeva and Others), Usman Umalatov and Shamad Durdiyev (Umalatov and others) were unlawfully deprived of their liberty (Article 5);
  • The manner in which the complaints of the applicants in Seriyevy, Abayeva and Others, Mudayevy, Sadulayeva, Tasatayevy, Umalatov were dealt with by Russian authorities constituted inhuman treatment (Article 3);
  • Failure of the Russian authorities to conduct adequate investigation into the applicants’ complaint concerning the ill-treatment of Aslan and Mokhmad Mudayev constituted inhuman treatment (Article 3);
  • The Russian authorities have violated property rights of Abdurashidova on account of the damage to the applicant’s home (Article 1 of Protocol No. 1);
  • The applicants did not have access to an effective remedy before Russian authorities for the violations (violation of Article 13).

The applicants in the cases were awarded EUR 60,000 in moral damages. The Court also ruled on the protection of property during the security operation based on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention in Abdurashidova.  

The applicants in Seriyevy were assisted in bringing their case to the ECtHR by the Russian Justice Initiative. The applicants in Abdurashidova, Mudayev, Umalatov were assisted by the NGO International Protection Centre; the applicants in the remaining cases (Abayeva, Sadulayeva) were represented by the lawyers of the Memorial Human Rights Centre. Mr D. Itslayev represented the interests of his clients in Tasatayevy. 

For more information,  

In Moscow, Vanessa Kogan: + 7 (495)915-0869; +7 (925)863-5111;

Roemer Lemaître: +7 (903)108-1346


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