The European Court is going to deal with the case of abduction of a young girl in Chechnya


30 April 2015

Today, on 30 April 2015, lawyers of the interregional non-governmental organization «The Committee Against Torture» lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concerning the abduction of 20-year old Khadizhat Elimkhanova from Grozny. According to human rights defenders the Russian Federation violated article 2 of the European Convention («the right to life») with regards to the missing girl, and did not conduct any efficient investigation of this fact (article 13 of the Convention). The complaint was filed on behalf of the mother of the abducted girl Lilya Khasiyeva. 

(Khadizhat Elimkhanova)

On 30 August 2013 Lilya Khasiyeva applied for legal assistance to the Joint Mobile Group of human rights defenders working in the Chechen Republic. She reported that on 6 July 2013 in Grozny two men forced her daughter Khadizhat Elimkhanova to get in the car, after that they went in unidentified direction. From the witnesses Lilya learned that one of the abductors was wearing a military camouflage and had a gun on him. The abduction of Elimkhanova was recorded by a video surveillance camera of the shop near the scene of action. One of the witnesses told the human rights defenders that she saw on the videotape one of the abductors in the military camouflage giving Elimkhanova a blow on the head.  It is known from the other witness that on the day of the abduction two men were looking for Elimkhanova, one of them was armed and was wearing a military uniform.   

Only on 24 July 2013 the criminal case was opened based on the fact of Khadizhat’s abduction. However, the investigation of the case, performed by the Investigative Department for Staropromyslovsky District of Grozny, was repeatedly suspended without conducting investigative activities, the necessity of which was pointed out by the management of the Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Chechen Republic. At the present time the legality of the current suspension of the investigation is being checked by the Investigative Department. 

In the course of the public inquiry performed by the human rights defenders there were obtained evidence sufficient for establishing that the investigation of the criminal case based on the fact of Elimkhanova’s abduction was inefficient. As it is pointed out in the complaint filed to the ECHR, the case was opened only 18 days after the abduction, which prevented from performing timely investigative activities at the initial (most important) stage of the investigation.  The car which the abductors used was not identified and found, though the vehicle registration number is known to the investigation.  The results of the expert review of the video recording device which recorded the moment of Elimkhanova’s abduction were not obtained.

JMG lawyer Albert Kuznetsov thinks that the fact that the abductors used brutal force, as well as absence of any data on the fate of the abducted girl for over two years suggest that the right to life was violated with regards to Khadizhat Elimkhanova. «Even if we suggest that the man in camouflage who abducted Khadizhat, was not acting in the capacity of the official authorities representative, one way or another the state is obliged to protect the integrity of its citizens and, by performing a thorough investigation, demonstrate uncompromising struggle with these gravest of crimes»,  – Kuznetsov emphasizes. 

In the opinion of consultant for international law of INGO «The Committee Against Torture» Anton Ryzhov this case is most likely a part of so-called «honour killings», which may be observed in the Republic. «In the context of modern Chechnya this phenomena is very relevant, – Ryzhov comments. – Some of these days the court in Grozny convicted a man who killed his daughter for allegedly indecent behavior to seven years prison term to be served under maximum security. At least three such cases for public inquiry are in our proceedings at the moment»

Despite the complaint lodged with the Strasbourg court the lawyers of JMG continue to strive for the efficient investigation of the criminal case at the national level.

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