The European Court communicated the applications of two former police officers from Chechnya concerning tortures


02 June 2020
Alikhan Akhmedov and Aslanbek Daurbekov

The European Court of Human Rights posed questions to Russian authorities concerning the applications submitted by two former police officers Alikhan Akhmedov and Aslandek Daurbekov. In various times, they applied to the Investigative Committee with complaints claiming that they were subjected to tortures by their colleagues with the Ministry of the Interior of Chechnya, however, they failed to achieve an effective investigation.

As we have previously reported, in 2011 Alikhan Akhmedov applied to the Committee Against Torture. According to him, in 2007, when he was Criminal Investigations officer, together with his colleague Imran Arsamerzuyev he was investigating a criminal case, the suspect in which turned out to be Said-Emin Mazayev, who appeared to be a distant relative of commander of OMON under the Ministry of the Interior for the Chechen Republic Alikhan Tsakayev.

According to Akhmedov, on 19 November 2007 Arsamerzuyev and himself were detained in a Grozny cafe with the use of violence and fire weapons, taken to the Chechen OMON base and subjected to long and brutal torture.

In his explanation Akhmedov wrote: “Two OMON officers took me by the arms and dragged me to the trees. They tied my hands behind my back with a rope, put a cloth into my mouth. Then they hitched that very rope over a bough and started pulling it so that I found myself hanging in the air. After that all OMON officers started beating me. For about three hours they were taking turns to beat me, hitting and kicking on my head and body, accompanying this with curses. I fainted 3 or 4 times, they poured cold water on me from a bucket, so that I regained consciousness. During the beatings one of the officers twice put out his cigarettes against my neck”.

Subsequently, on 27 November 2008, Alikhan Akhmedov and Imran Arsamerzuyev, as well as another colleague of theirs, were found guilty of unlawful violence against Said-Emin Mazayev. Alikhan was sentenced to three years’ conditional term. Back on 19 November 2007 Akhmedov gave a detailed explanation to the officer of Internal Security Department with the Ministry of the Interior for the Chechen Republic about tortures at the OMON base. This explanation was submitted to the Investigative Department under the Chechen Republic Investigative Committee.

On 3 December 2007, investigator with the Leninsky Interdistrict Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee under the Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic initiated criminal proceedings with regard to applying violence against Akhmedov and Arsamerzuyev by unidentified officers of OMON under the Ministry of the Interior of the Chechen Republic. Two months later they were declared victims in the criminal case.

By the present time, at least, nineteen rulings with regard to suspending the preliminary investigation due to impossibility to identify the suspects have been issued. However, during all these years the investigators failed to perform most necessary investigative activities, for example: checking of the victims’ evidence at the incident scene, examination of the incident scene, identification lineup.

Taking into account, that the case was in deadlock at the national level, on 24 June 2013, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Alikhan Akhmedov.

In addition, due to the red tape during investigation of this case, in 2014, human rights defenders applied to court on behalf of Akhmedov with a lawsuit regarding compensation of moral damage. The court evaluated this damage, inflicted by inefficient investigation, at fifteen thousand rubles. The appellate instance upheld this ruling.

Today, the European Court of Human Rights notified lawyers with the Committee Against Torture about communication of the application in the interests of Alikhan Akhmedov.

The second applicant of the Committee Against Torture, on whose application the European Court started the communication process, is Aslanbek Daurbekov.

Aslanbek, who in 2010 worked as district police officer in Shaami-Yurt village, told that on 14 May 2010 he was tortured in the Achkhoy-Martan District Police Department by the police officers.

In his explanation, Daurbekov told that at first his colleagues with the Ministry of the Interior demanded that he confessed of raping a woman, but then they changed their mind and started to demand confessions concerning robbery of a woman from Grozny.

According to Aslanbek, he did not agree to incriminate oneself, due to this the police officers were beating him up the whole day, and did not give any food or drink, and on the next day they continued the battery and started to threaten with rape. After that he agreed to confess of robbery.

According to Daurbekov, in a few days he dismissed his confessions and he was taken from the temporary detention facility back to the Achkhoy-Martan District Police Department – there he was tortured being hung on the rod, and the police officers demanded that he confessed of a new crime: robbery with violence of two gas filling stations. According to Aslanbek, during one of the torture episodes he tried to escape from his torturers jumping out of window, but the police officers quickly him and continued to beat him up.

On 27 January 2011, Daurbekov was sentenced to 11 years and 7 months of prison term with serving the sentence in maximum security penal colony for illegal storage of weapons, robbery, kidnapping, murder, abuse of office using violence.

Achkhoy-Martan Interdistrict Investigative Department with the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic checked the Aslanbek’s complaint about the police torture. The investigative authorities twice refused to initiate criminal proceedings. The last refusal was issued three months after the torture complaint. Subsequently it was declared to be legal by the courts at the national level.

On 22 September 2011, having failed to achieve effective investigation from the Investigative Committee’s investigators, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Aslanbek Daurbekov.

Today, the ECHR also informed human rights defenders that this application has been communicated.

With regard to Akhmedov and Daurbekov’s applications the Strasbourg judges posed the following questions to the Russian Federation:

– Were the applicants subjected to tortures, degrading or humiliating treatment,
– Is the government able to provide a convincing explanation of causes of the applicants’ traumas,
– Have the authorities conducted an effective investigation with regard to the applicants’ complaints about brutal treatment,
– Were the effective legal remedies provided to the applicants during examination of their complaints about brutal treatment.

Another additional question was posed with regard to Daurbekov’s application:
– Was his apprehension legal.

“Now the Russian authorities have time till 19 November of this year to answer the questions posed by the European Court of Human Rights, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Mariya Zadorozhnaya comments. – Unfortunately, it will not be possible to punish the persons guilty of tortures due to expiry of the period of limitations for bringing to criminal responsibility for such category of cases. We only hope that the European Court will be able to legally evaluate all the circumstances of the incidents occurred and evaluate the effectiveness of the performed investigations”.

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