The European Court passed a ruling in the case of President of the Caucasian Peoples’ Assembly Ruslan Kutaev. The court acknowledged that Russia violated several articles of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms*. In the ruling it was stated that the actual cause of Kutaev’s battery, arrest and court prosecution was holding the conference dedicated to the memory of the victims of Stalin’s repressions of the peoples of Caucasus, which provoked anger of the Chechen authorities.
It is worth mentioning that Russia refused to execute the ECHR rulings which took effect after 15 March 2022.
In 2014, Ruslan Kutaev was abducted by the armed men in camouflage uniform. The man told human rights defenders from the Committee Against Torture that he was taken to an unknown place where he was beaten up by high officials of the Chechen Republic. They demanded that he signed some documents. In fear for his life, Kutaev was forced to do it.
According to him, later on the battery continued in the District Department of the Interior of Urus-Martan. Ruslan was being beaten up till he agreed to fulfill all the conditions: confess of storing drugs and dismiss the torture complaint, – the man recalls.
The criminal case was initiated against Kutaev under article «Illegal purchase and storing drugs in the large scale without intention to sell» (Ch. 2 Article 228 of the Criminal Code and sentenced to four years’ prison term with serving the sentence in a general security penal colony. During the court hearing, he called all what was going on «a stage play, sent by someone from the above».
According to Ruslan, the criminal case against him was forged, and heroin, allegedly found on him, was planted. Kutaev said the only reason for what was going on that he could name was the conference that he held. It was dedicated to the 70th anniversary of deportation of the Chechen and the Ingush in 1944. It provoked an anger of the head of Chechnya: previously, he ordered that these activities were held not on 23 February (on the day when the deportation started), but on 10 May – the day of Ramzan Kadyrov’s father funerals. Despite the threats, Ruslan Kutaev held the planned conference on 18 February together with activists and scientists. Two days later, Kutaev was apprehended.
In 2015, lawyers with the CAT, applied to the European Court of Human Rights with an application on behalf of Ruslan Kutaev. A year before that, human rights organization Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience.
Ruslan learned about the ECHR ruling when he was outside the territory of Russia:
«I am very glad that the European Court confirmed by innocence. In Russia, the state authorities are not yet ready to acknowledge the committed crimes, that is why there is no wonder that Russia stopped paying compensations under the rulings of the ECHR. From the first day since I was freed, I continue my political and human rights activity».
The comment by head of the department of international legal remedy Olga Sadovskaya:
«In this case, the court’s acknowledgement of the violation of Article 18 of the Convention is of special importance. It is a so-called “political” article, and its violation is acknowledged when a man is tortured, killed or apprehended in revenge for his public or professional activity. That’s exactly what happened to Ruslan Kutaev. Tortures, drugs, and, as a result, the verdict have one common cause: the conference, undesirable by the authorities, which was held in improper time, place and manner».
Article 3 of the Convention – No one can be subjected to torture (mental or physical) inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Article 5 of the Convention – Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law.
Article 6 of the Convention – In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
Article 18 of the Convention – The limitations allowed in the present Convention in regard of the mentioned rights and freedoms, shall not be applied for the purposes other than those for which they were provided.