Today the Leninskiy District Court of Grozny city has held a hearing of the claim for compensation for moral damages to Ayma Makayeva, incurred to her by inefficient investigation of the failure of the officers of Leninskiy District of Grozny Department of Interior to register her report on abduction of her son, Apti Zaynalov. Previously, on 18 September of this year, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in this case. The court came to the conclusion that the abductors were the state representatives, established six violations of the European Convention and awarded sixty thousand euro to the victim’s mother.
As we have previously reported, the head of «Memorial» regional representative office Natalia Estemirova started to investigate the case of Apti Zaynalov’s abduction. After her murder and establishing of Joint Mobile Group in Chechen Republic (JMG), JMG human rights defenders continued looking into this case.
On 4 December 2009 Ayma Makayeva applied to the JMG human rights defenders for legal assistance. According to Ayma on 28 June 2009 her son Apti Zaynalov was detained in Grozny city by law-enforcement officers and taken to an undisclosed location. In connection with that Ayma applied to law-enforcement bodies of Chechen Republic with a statement about her son’s disappearance. Nevertheless no activities for Zaynalov’s search were performed. Furthermore, as it became known later on, this crime report had not even been registered. Only 9 days later Zaynalov was accidentally found by the head of “Memorial” regional representative office Natalia Estemirova in Achkhoy-Martan central district hospital. Zaynalov was receiving medical treatment there guarded by armed men in police uniform in connection with a gunshot wound that he received during his arrest.
As it became known in the course of a civil investigation performed by human rights defenders a few days before that, the acting Achkhoy-Martan inter-district prosecutor Mr. Potanin tried to enter the premises of this hospital, however the armed men in police uniform refused to answer the prosecutor’s questions. Moreover, they threatened to murder him if he tries to communicate with a patient located in the hospital. Despite the submitted on 7 July 2009 official application of Zaynalov’s mother and Natalia Estemirova to the Prosecutor’s office and Department of Interior for Achkhoy-Martan district concerning Apti’s stay in hospital no actions were taken either – and as a result on the same day Zaynalov was taken away from the territory of the hospital by unidentified armed men. Nothing has been known about the abducted man’s fate ever since.
The human rights defenders of the Joint Mobile Group admitted to the criminal proceeding as the victim’s representatives have to acknowledge that as a result of numerous violations the case of Zaynalov’s abduction was not actually investigated for a few years, and the possibility of this case’s effective investigation was virtually lost.
In the course of today’s court hearing the representative of Ayma Makayeva Oleg Khabibrakhmanov, a lawyer of the Joint Mobile Group, once again has confirmed the particulars of claim, having indicated that in the course of the pre-trial investigation of the failure to register the crime report the Investigative Committee officers issued six unlawful refusals to open a criminal case, which were subsequently quashed by human rights defenders.
Answering the judge’s question on why he considered the investigation inefficient, Oleg Khabibrakhmanov answered: «I’m quite convinced that the cases related to crimes committed by the Chechen security agencies which de facto report to Ramzan Kadyrov, unfortunately so far are beyond the capacity of the Investigative Committee. What efficiency can we speak of when the district prosecutor himself, who saw with his own eyes Apti Zaynalov unlawfully detained at hospital, failed not only to set him free but even to establish who were these armed people».
Investigative Committee representative, in his turn, admitted that his colleagues unlawfully issued six refusals to open a criminal case, however he asked the court to dismiss the claims, not providing any arguments to support this opinion. The Ministry of Finance officer objected only to the size of the sum, considering that the sum of fifty thousand rubles was overstated.
As a result the judge of Leninskiy District Court of Grozny mister Pisarenko partly sustained Ayma Makayeva’s claim, having awarded 10 000 RUR of compensation for moral damages.
As we have previously reported, the case of Zaynalov is mentioned in the report on the status of investigation of criminal cases , initiated based on the facts of torture and enforced disappearances in the Chechen Republic, developed by lawyers with the Interregional NGO «Committee Against Torture». This report was handed over to the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights.