Today, on 13 April 2015, lawyers of interregional nongovernmental organization «The Committee Against Torture» lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in the interests of Suleiman Edigov from the Chechen Republic. Lawyers think that a number of articles of the European Convention of Human Rights was violated in his regard, including prohibition of torture, right to personal integrity and to a fair trial.
The case of Suleiman Edigov attracted public attention when, on 1 November 2013, judge of the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic Vakhid Abubakarov disqualified himself from examining this very case. As explained in the decision, it was done on the grounds that the judge had received a telephone call from «a person identifying himself as the Minister of the Interior for the Chechen Republic, general-lieutenant Alkhanov Ruslan Shakhaevich», who warned the judge against acquittal.
Moreover, judge Abubakarov in his self-disqualification statement elaborated on the following: «In the course of the trial investigation the court was provided with the accumulation of the consistent evidence confirming the words of defendant S.S.Edigov, stating that police investigators who report to R.Sh.Alhanov illegally abducted him on August 3, 2012, imprisoned him until September 12, 2012, wrapping his fingers with aluminum wire, subjected him to electricity tortures, forcing him to confess, and caused him hard-to-heal putrid wounds of the 4th and the 5th fingers of both hands circumferentially».
«After the involvement of the executive of such high rank in my examination of the criminal case against S.S.Edigov, any verdict that I can possibly announce, even in my own consciousness, beyond my will, would look like a yielding to a warning in case of guilty verdict or a demonstration of courage in case of a not-guilty verdict, i.e. it would either be ordered or a protest one», – the judge of the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic summed up his self-disqualification.
However, further on the new judge of the case German Aleksandrov dismissed a motion of the defendant for disqualification of all the judges of Chechnya due to pressure exerted on their colleague Vakhid Abubakarov based on the fact that «the reasons of his self-disqualification are not confirmed by factual circumstances». After that the judge delivered a guilty verdict in the case of Edigov.
Meanwhile, neither evidence, collected in the course of trial investigation by judge Abubakarov, nor a significant public interest, applications filed with the General Prosecutor and the Chairman of the Investigative Committee, attention of the Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation could influence the situation. On 23 May 2014 the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic chaired by German Aleksandrov delivered its conviction in the case of Suleiman Edigov, charged with criminal offenses under Articles 317 (encroachment on the life of an officer of a law-enforcement body) and 222 (2) (illegal purchase, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or bearing weapons, committed by a group of individuals by prior conspiracy) of Russian Criminal Code. Judge German Aleksandrov found the defendant guilty on all counts and sentenced the young man to fourteen and a half years to be served in a maximum security penal colony.
On 7 November 2014 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dismissed Edigov’s appeal against the court decision.
As to investigation of abduction and torture which Edigiv reported the Investigative Committee issued unlawful six refusals to initiate criminal proceedings which were appealed against by lawyers of the Joint Mobile Group where Edigov’s mother applied for legal support.
«I think that Strasbourg judges do not often deal with Russian cases where their colleagues – in this case the judge of the defendant state, establish with confidence that the applicant’s fingers were winded with aluminum wire and electric current was connected to it. I’m sure that this case will create stir in the European Court of Human Rights. We should not forget that the ECHR is known by its zero tolerance to evidence obtained by torture. The judges can declare the whole trial of Suleimanov to be unfair», – emphasized lawyer of the Committee Against Torture Anton Ryzhov.