The European Court communicated an application of a resident of Grozny against tortures 14 years back


22 July 2020

The European Court of Human Rights posed questions to the Russian authorities concerning the application of Amur Ganayev from the Chechen Republic. In 2006, he applied to the Prosecutor’s Office with an complaint that he was subjected to tortures by law-enforcement officers, however, he failed to achieve an effective investigation.

In June 2006, Zareta Ganayeva applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. She informed that in January 2006 her brother Amur Ganayev was apprehended by the police officers and taken to the operational investigations bureau #2 with the North Caucasus Operational Department of the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation for the Southern Federal District, located in Grozny, where he was subjected to brutal tortures.

Later on, Ganayev himself told about the incident in more detail: on 3 January 2006 in Grozny his car was blocked by the police officers, he was apprehended and taken to the operational investigations bureau #2. According to Amur, for ten days he was being forced under torture to confess of murder, inflicting grave bodily harm, as well as of illegal purchasing and keeping weapons.

In his explanation Amur reported: “Six police officers were torturing me at the same time. I was blindfolded with a bandage which used to sideslip from time to time, and gave me an opportunity to see the faces of my torturers. They were beating me up with arms and feet, as well as a rubber truncheon, stunned me with blows of palms of their hands at my ears, due to which my ears started to bleed. After that they brought me to the first floor, where there was a chair in a specially equipped room, to which I was tied up and tortured with electricity. They tortured me with a field phone set… After electricity tortures they put me against the wall and hit me at my kidneys, liver and thighs, and when I would fall on the floor, they finished me off right there”.

According to Amur, having yielded to torture, he sighed the evidence which was demanded from him and on the thirteenth day he was moved to Pre-Trial Detention Facility No.1 of Grozny. However, according to Ganayev, only several days later, he was taken to operational investigations bureau #2 and subjected to tortures again. In addition, he was threatened with apprehension and tortures of his relatives in case he withdrew his previously provided testimony.

When he was taken to Pre-Trial Detention Facility No.1, Amur Ganayev was diagnosed with the following bodily injuries: “On both thighs from the internal and external sides there are huge hematomas down to the knee joint; during palpation a crepitation of ribs 11-12 on the right along the median scapular and underarm lines, acute painfulness during palpation”.

Later on, the medical forensic examination conducted in the framework of the Prosecutor’s Office check of Amur’s complaint, it was indicated that, apart from hematoma on the thighs, he had post-traumatic encephalopathy and hematomas under the right eye, which are qualified as a bodily harm of medium severity.

On 25 January 2006, Amur applied to the Prosecutor’s Office of the Chechen Republic with a complaint about tortures that he was subjected to, at the same time, having indicated that violence was used against him also in the presence of investigator of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Oktyabrsky District of Grozny.

On 5 February 2006, the Prosecutor’s Office investigators refused to open a criminal case. Totally, during four years, the investigative authorities issued seven refusals to initiate criminal proceedings.

On 26 December 2006, Amur Ganayev was declared guilty of intentional homicide and inflicting severe bodily harm, for which he was sentenced to 11 years of prison term. This verdict was quashed as the one based on the evidence examined during judicial proceedings with significant violations of the criminal and procedural law”.
However, on 25 April 2008, the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic issued a new verdict under the same articles of prosecution, according to which Amur Ganayev was sentenced to 6 years and 6 months of prison term with serving the sentence at maximum security penal colony.

Taking into account that at the national level the investigation of torture complaints did not get moving, on 30 June 2010 lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the European Court of Human Rights in the interests of Amur Garayev.

On 20 July 2020, a notification about this communication of this application appeared at the ECHR web-site. The Strasburg judges posed the following questions to the Russian Federation:

– taking into account the bodily injuries that the applicant received when staying in police custody, was the applicant subjected to tortures or inhumane or degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the Convention,
– did the power authorities executed their burden of proof by providing plausible and convincing explanation of how the applicant obtained his bodily injuries,
– whether the power authorities performed an effective investigation in accordance with the procedural obligation provided by Article 3 of the Convention, taking into account the refusals of the investigative authorities to open a criminal case and investigate reports on brutal treatment by state officials,
– did the applicant had effective domestic remedy available with regard to his complaint about brutal treatment, as it is required by Article 13 of the Convention.

“The European Court communicated Ganayev’s complaint among other three complaints against brutal treatment at operational investigations bureau #2 in the period from 2003 to 2007. All the applicants claim that they were taken there by the police officers and they were forced by torture to sign confessions, – lawyer with the International Legal Department Mariya Zadorozhnaya comments. – Subsequently, all the applicants withdrew their testimonies, but they were convicted, anyway, and no effective investigation was conducted with regard to their complaints of brutal treatment. Despite numerous complaints related to tortures at operational investigations bureau #2, we are unaware of a single officer of this institution who was brought to criminal responsibility”.

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