On 24 October 2013 the European Court of Human Rights delivered Judgment in the case of Aslan Dovletukayev, who was abducted in the course of so-called «passport regime control», conducted by unidentified armed people on 9 January 2004 in Avtury village of Shali district of the Chechen Republic. Later he was found dead, his body born signs of torture. The ECHR found that there have been violations of fundamental human rights enshrined in the European Convention, and held that Russia is to pay Aslan’s relatives EUR 40,000.
(Photo: Aslan Dovletukayev)
The Committee Against Torture started working on this case when Aslan Dovletukayev’s relatives applied to the Committee seeking legal assistance. According them, on 9 January 2004 a group of about eighteen masked armed men in camouflage uniforms arrived at their house in armoured personnel carriers and two UAZ minivans. Having entered the house, they started to search it, turning everything upside down. The family members were ordered to prepare for identity check. The servicemen checked the passports of all the males present. Then they led Aslan Dovletukayev outside. The applicant’s relatives tried to stop the men, but were threatened at gunpoint.
Aslan’s relatives have never seen him alive since that day. In a week his dead body with signs of torture was found in Gudermes district of Chechnya.
The Prosecutor’s Office initiated two separate criminal proceedings based on the abduction and on discovery of his dead body. Later they were joined into one case. Nevertheless, investigating bodies failed to carry out an effective investigation, limiting themselves to formal steps. The investigation issued a total of fifteen decisions to suspend the proceedings. The last one, at least which human rights defenders are informed about, was issued on 1 February 2012.
In January 2007 the Committee Against Torture, representing interests of Aslan Dovletukayev’s relatives, filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights.
In the Judgment the Court held that:
– The Russian Federation has violated Aslan Dovletukayev’s right to life,
– the authorities failed to carry our a proper investigation of his murder,
– Aslan Dovletukayev was held in detention in violation of guarantees enshrined in Article 5 of the Convention,
– there have been no effective remedies at the relatives’ disposal in respect of the aforementioned violations,
Consequently, the Court held that the respondent State is to pay Aslan’s family 40,000 euros in respect of non pecuniary damage.
«It takes the ECHR long to examine a case. Yet, the European justice has once again appeared to be more expeditious than our domestic one», says one of the Dovletukaevs’ representative before the ECHR, a lawyer working with the Committee Against Torture, Anton Ryzhov, «and it’s difficult not to discern a certain political condition in here: Russian authorities evidently refuse to investigate cases connected with he armed conflict in the Chechen Republic, as well as abductions and murders committed in the time of peace. 10 years have passed since Aslan was found dead, but those responsible are not identified yet. Unfortunately, nothing is changing in this respect now, in «Kadyrov’s» Chechnya. We see this clearly from those twenty criminal cases in which victims are represented by lawyers working with the Joint Mobile Group of human right defenders».