On 7 October 2010 the European Court of Human Rights found Russia responsible for tortures of a pensioner from Chechnya who had been detained by Russian servicemen in 2000. The Court notified the Russian Justice Initiative and the Interregional Committee Against Torture about its decision.
In Sadykov v. Russia (№41840/02) the applicant is Alaudin Sadykov, a school teacher in the past. At the moment of detention he was working in a “burial group” for the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Situations of the Chechen Republic. He was also helping the residents of the Oktyabrskiy District of Grozny to obtain drinking water and food. On 5 March 2000, at around 10 a.m., the applicant was distributing drinking water among the residents of the Oktyabrskiy District when a group of federal servicemen in two UAZ vehicles arrived and enquired as to how they could get to a certain street. The commander of the group asked the applicant to come with them and show them the way. When the servicemen arrived at the street they were looking for, the applicant asked them to let him out. Instead, the military hit the applicant in the kidneys and put a bag over his head. They ordered him to be silent and delivered him to the Temporary Office of the Interior of the Oktyabrskiy District of Grozny.
During the detention, which lasted almost 3 months, state agents cut Alaudin’s hair and forced him to chew and swallow it, pressed a red-hot nail into his hands, broke his nose, ribs, knocked out his teeth and cut off his ear. The Court characterized such treatment as “a horrid act of violence” and found it shocking that it had been committed a police officer who was, furthermore, a representative of the State seconded to the Chechen Republic to maintain constitutional order in the region and called upon to protect the interests of civilians.
Besides, the authorities stole Alaudin’s property for the amount of more than 3 million rubles.
In 2002 Mr. Sadykov applied to the ECtHR with the support of the Russian Justice Initiative, in 2009 the Court found the application admissible.
The prosecutor’s office instigated criminal proceedings on the allegations of theft and ill-treatment which lasted more than 5 years to no effect until Mr. Sadykov applied to the regional representation of the Committee Against Torture in Nizhny Novgorod. Lawyers of the Committee Against torture conducted a public investigation, which revealed that the official investigation had been many times suspended for no reason, although the violations were obvious and those responsible were identified.
In its judgment the European Court criticizes the ineffectiveness of the investigation into tortures pointing to “remarkable shortcomings” of the investigation which are “absurd” and denote extreme unprofessionalism on the part of the investigating authorities and their evident unwillingness to investigate the offences against the applicant and to bring those responsible to justice.
The European Court has unanimously held that:
- Alaudin Sadykov was subjected to tortures with no effective investigation of that fact (violation of Article 3 of the European Convention);
- The Russian authorities breached Mr. Sadykov’s property right as regards the alleged destruction and looting of the applicant’s house and theft of his two cars (Article 1 Protocol 1);
- Alaudin Sadykov was denied access to an effective remedy as regards breaches of Article 3 and Article 1 Protocol 1 (violation of Article 13 conjunction with Article 3 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, in so far as the theft of the applicant’s cars was concerned);
- The state refused to cooperate with the Court by refusing to submit the documents requested by the Court (violation of Article 38).
Alaudin Sadykov has been awarded 79 800 euro as compensation of moral and material damage.