Today, on June 20, the European Court of Human Rights delivered Judgment in the case of Sayd-Salekh Ibragimov, who was abducted in Grozny in 2009 by servicemen of the so-called “oil regiment” of the Ministry of the Interior; he was then for several days detained in the regiment headquarters, and then disappeared.
(Photo: Sayd-Salekh Ibragimov)
The case originated in an application lodged by Sayd-Salekh’s mother Raisa Turlueva, who had not managed to attain proper domestic investigation of her 19 year old son’s abduction. Her interests before the ECHR were represented by lawyers of the NGO European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (London) and Memorial Human Rights Centre.
Basing on the fact of Ibragimov’s disappearance the Investigative Department instigated criminal proceedings, but the investigation has been openly sabotaged by now. The investigation haven’t examined the legality of his detention and his being taken to the regiment premises. The lawyers of the Jiont Mobile Group in Chechnya (JMG) who were acting on the applicant’s behalf obtained the evidence of the fact that the investigator, drawing up the questioning record, refused to note important part of the statements given by a relative of the abducted, who asserted that he had had seen Sayd-Salekh in the premises of the “oil regiment” on the day of his detention. A confrontation between the key witness of the detention and Mr. Delimkhanov, Head of the external guards regiment of the Ministry of the Interior, has never been arranged, for the latter repeatedly, without any reasonable excuse, refused to come to the Investigative Department. The investigators in charge of the case for quite a long time could not question commanders and servicemen of the “oil regiment”; Sayd-Salekh’s abductors ignored four summonses to appear for interrogation. The investigators obtained questioning only in the regiment headquarters, and in the presence of numerous armed servicemen.
Lawyers with the JMG state that the opportunity to effectively investigate the circumstances of Sayd-Salekh enforced disappearance has been lost due to the passage of time.
In today’s Judgment the Court is unanimous that:
The Russian Federation has failed to ascertain Sayd-Salekh’s fate after he had been detained by the “oil regiment” servicemen. Considering that there has been no news from or about him for several years, the State has violated his right to life;
The authorities failed to carry out an effective criminal investigation into abduction of Sayd-Salekh Ibragimov following his close relatives’ application;
Raisa Turlueva’s distress and anguish which she has suffered as a result of the manner in which her complaints have been dealt with amount to inhuman treatment;
Sayd-Salekh Ibragimov was deprived of his liberty in violation of guarantees provided for in Article 2 of the Convention;
The relatives had been deprived of effective remedies in respect of the aforementioned violations.
For these reasons, the Court has held that Russia is to pay to Raisa Turlueva sixty thousand euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
We would remind that the case of Ibragimov’s abduction is included into the report on the efficiency of investigation into criminal cases initiated basing on torture and disappearances of people in the Chechen Republic. This report was prepared by lawyers of the Interregional NGO “Committee Against Torture” and submitted to the Russian Federation Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights.
Not long ago, on 18 April 2013, the European Court passed a significant Judgment in the case of abduction of the Chechen Republic citizen Abdul-Yazit Askhabov in 2009. The Court has arrived at the conclusion that the crime was committed by State agents, found five violations of the European Convention, and held that relatives of the abducted must be payed sixty thousand euros.
A lawyer with the Committee Against Torture and a member of the Joint Mobile Group, Anton Ryzhov, comments on the ECHR Judgment: “This is another signal for Russian authorities. The ECHR has tackled cases of abductions in the present-day “Kadyrov’s” Chechnya, where investigation of these cases is in fact never conducted. We have repeatedly informed the Government on numerous serious problems in the work of law enforcement bodies in the Chechen Republic. Ineffective investigation of torture and abductions is a grave violation of generally recognized provisions of international law, and it results in discrediting reputation of our country on the international arena. This situation undermines the foundations of the constitutional order and shows people the inability of our authorities to uphold the Constitution on the territory of the Chechen Republic”.