The ECHR awarded 19500 euro to a resident of Bashkiria, who was subjected to a forced abortion in a clinic


14 October 2022


On 11 October, the European Court passed a ruling in the case of the CAT applicant S. (name and surname are not disclosed at the woman’s request) from the Sharanskiy District of the Republic of Bashkortostan. The court acknowledged a violation of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms («No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment») in the material and procedural aspects and awarded a compensation for moral damage in the amount of 19 500 euro.   

In 2010, a 20-year old woman was forcefully taken by her parents to the maternity clinic of the Tuymazinskiy District for artificial termination of pregnancy.

«I was crying, telling I did not want to terminate the pregnancy. My father hit my head and said if I did not do the abortion he would get me off the car and beat me up so that I have a miscarriage» – S. recalls.  

Despite that, according to S., doctor Flura Kharisova performed an abortion against the will of the applicant, without the preliminary examination or subsequent monitoring:  

«My mother said if I did not do abortion, the father would kill us. In fear for my life I lay on the gynecological chair. The doctor performed abortion, an assistant nurse was helping her».   

On the same day, S. applied to the Department of the Interior for the Sharansky District of the Republic of Bashkortostan with a crime report. During medical examination, the traces of pregnancy termination and injection in the uterine cervix area were established. 

The Department of the Interior of Russia for the Tuymazinsky Disrict of the Republic of Bashkortostan issued no less than seven dismissals of claims to open a criminal case, six of which were quashed by the Prosecutor’s Office as illegal ones. The only thing that the victim managed to achieve is a compensation for moral damage in the amount of 20000 rubles. It was awarded by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan, having established that the pregnancy termination was performed without S.’s content and it was performed in the Central District Hospital of the Tuymazinskiy District. However, the criminal case against the doctor was never opened due to absence of the element of crime. Doctor Kharisova denied her involvement in the enforced abortion, saying that on that day she had a few women in labor, but she never saw S. in the clinic. In January 2017, lawyers with the CAT submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of S.   

The comment by CAT lawyer: 

«Indeed, medical cases are a rather rare category of cases, as well as the cases involving the actions of such state agents as, for example, the educational institutions staff – and that is why this ruling is important. It confirms that tortures amount not only to the battery and actions that leave bruises on a body.  The position of the investigative authorities who refused to open a criminal case, is a peculiar one. The investigator decided that the parents did not intend to do harm to their daughter and believed they were acting in her best interests. It seems that this is a position of the state, when some opinion of third parties may become the basis of a conclusion on how an accountable and adult person should deal with his life (in this case, with one’s pregnancy).  The opinion of judge Mikhail Lobov, who represents Russia in the ECHR, is of interest, too. He considered the doctors’ actions to be the elements of domestic violence, and the doctors had nothing to do with it, and the abortion was done because the family forced a serious medical intervention on the young woman».   

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