Yesterday the Essentuki city court held a hearing under the complaint of INGO “Committee against Torture” chairman Igor Kalyapin about omissions of officials of the Main Administration of the Russian Interior Ministry for the North-Caucasian Federal Territory under the case concerning Islam Ymarpashayev’s abduction and long-term detention at the Chechen OMON base. The Investigation Committee instigated criminal proceedings upon the fact of Umarpashayev’s abduction which on December 13, 2010 was transferred to the Main Investigation Administration of the Russian Investigation Committee.
Kalyapin’s complaint has been triggered by the fact that senior special investigator Igor Sobol in charge of the case is incapable of performing an effective investigation into the crime. Although he has sustained several motions requesting investigative actions, these actions have not been taken. Policemen do not show up for questioning and line-ups, and Chechen internal affairs heads are openly preventing the official investigation. Sobol’s obligatory requests to ensure presence of certain police officers during investigative activities have been many times ignored by the Main Administration of the Russian Interior Ministry for the North-Caucasian Federal Territory.
The hearing which lasted almost the whole day can be considered unique, judging by the experience of the Committee Against Torture. That was the most thorough and detailed examination of the allegations of officials’ omissions.
Igor Kalyapin supported his complaint in full. In reply to the judge’s question what officials specifically had committed omissions, ICAT chairman gave two names – head of the Temporary Operative Task Force of Russian Interior Ministry bodies and departments, police major-general N.N. Simakov and head of the Main Administration of the Russian Interior Ministry for the North-Caucasian Federal Territory, police lieutenant-general S.M. Chenchik.
Investigator Sobol did not acknowledge omissions specifying that he had taken that case over only in January 2011. Earlier the case had been dealt with by the investigative bodies of the Chechen Republic which had not taken any investigative steps. Sobol has done a lot under this case already, now the case file consists of 30 volumes. In must be noted that 10 volumes comprise requests and inquiries of international and Russian bodies, NGOs, as well as answers to such inquiries. This fact illustrates huge public interest in Umarpashayev’s case.
Investigator Sobol acknowledged that his orders and requests filed to the Interior Ministry had not been executed in time. However, in his opinion, the obstacles to investigation are being eliminated step by step. According to Sobol, he is doing his best to hold those in charge of Umarpashayev’s abduction accountable. The Committee Against Torture hopes that the proceedings will result in prosecution on the domestic level before Islam Umarpashayev’s application is considered by the European Court of Human Rights.
The prosecution did not support Kalyapin’s complaint, however it was proposed to re-schedule the hearing for October 13, so that the prosecutor could prepare his position more thoroughly. The hearing is on at the moment.