The ECHR awarded 52 thousand euro of compensation to each of the five victims of torture in Chechnya


14 December 2021

The European Court of Human Rights awarded compensations in the amount of 52 thousand euro to five Chechen residents who complained of torture at local police departments – Khavazh Magomadov and Bislan Magomadov, Zubayr Idrisov, Makhmud Madayev and Suleyman Edigov.

The ECHR established the fact of torture for each of the victims and came to a conclusion that the Russian law-enforcement agencies did not perform effective investigation on their torture complaint and did not conduct a fair trial due to the fact that the men incriminated themselves under pressure. In addition, the Court established that Idrisov, Edigov and Magomadov brothers were illegally imprisoned.

Cousins Khavazh Magomadov and Bislan Magomadov were arrested by the police officers in September 2010 in Grozny. During the apprehension, Khavazh attempted to flee but the police officers shot at him several times and shot his left foot. Then the cousins were taken to the abandoned house, where they were tortured for several days: the police officers were beating them up with hands and feet, choking with a plastic bag and poured boiling water.

According to the results of forensic medical examinations, Khavazh was registered with a fire wound in the left thigh, burning wounds on the feet, and Bislan – an amputated a toe of the right foot, burns and deformation of the left hand thumb. Bislan claims that his toe was amputated as a consequence of the necrosis of tissue developed after electricity torture.

Later on, the Investigative Committee issued fourteen refusals to initiate criminal proceedings based on the cousins’ complaint.

Zubair Idrisov was apprehended and taken to the Department of the Interior for the Shalinsky District in September 2009. He was suspected of an attempt on life of Magomed Daudov, who at that time was head of that department. The police officers brutally beat up Idrisov, electricity torture and hang-up was applied against him aiming at obtaining confession of having committed a number of crimes. Later on, medics diagnosed the victim with a craniocerebral injury, hematomas on the face and on the right foot.

The investigative authorities five times dismissed the request for opening a criminal case based on Idrisov’s torture complaint.

Makhmud Madayev was apprehended in April 2012, when an explosion happened in Assinovskaya settlement of the Sunzhensky District of the Chechen Republic. In his explanation to the lawyers with the Committee Against Torture, Mr Madayev indicated that after he refused to confess of his involvement in the explosion, the police officers applied tortures to him, including battery with arms, feet and various objects, they were choking him with a plastic bag, broke his toes, threatened with a reprisal aimed at his family, after which Makhmud agreed to sign a confession. A month after Madayev’s apprehension, the medical examination was conducted, in the course of which numerous scars on the right shoulder and the back were registered.

As in the rest of the cases, the Investigative Committee dismissed the claim to open a criminal case.

Suleyman Edigov was abducted by the police officers in August 2012. The man was taken to the basement where he was tortured with electricity for nine days. Due to that, he developed rotting wounds on his fingers that could not be healed for a long time. In such a way the man was forced to confess of attempted assassination of the police officer and illegal arms trafficking. Later on, the court sentenced him to 14 years and 6 months of imprisonment.

The investigators issued eight dismissals of a claim to open a criminal case based on the fact of Edigov’s tortures.

— The period of limitations for bringing the culprits to criminal responsibility has expired already, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Abubakar Yangulbayev emphasizes. — However, the ruling of the European Court may become a cause for renewal of the check. There is a hope that the investigators will try to find the culprits, even though it is without a possible punishment.

All four cases were worked out by a Joint Mobile Group of the Committee Against Torture which was created in 2009 after the assassination of Natalya Estemirova of Memorial: in order to safeguard human rights defenders, one person worked in the region no longer than a month. The Group worked for seven years – after another bashing of the Committee’s office in Grozny it was relocated to Ingushetia. After the office was attacked there, too, it was relocated to Pyatogorsk, where the CAT officers continue their work covering the North Caucasus regions.

— Evidently, the Russian authorities still don’t acknowledge the gravity of this problem, refusing to conduct an effective investigation of torture complaints. Based on the ECHR ruling, the Russian authorities will have to pay compensations to 12 applicants in total amount of 624 000 euro, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Mariya Zadorozhnaya comments.

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