The European Court passed a ruling in the case of a woman abducted in Grozny


17 March 2020
Khadizhat Elimkhanova

Today, on 17 March 2020, the European Court of Human Rights acknowledged that the Russian authorities violated the rights of Lilya Khasiyeva from Grozny due to ineffective investigation of disappearance of her daughter, Khadizhat Elimkhanova. The applicant was awarded a compensation in the amount of 26 000 euro. At the present time the whereabouts of Khadizhat is not established by the investigation, persons involved in her abduction are not found.

As we have previously reported, 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.

During the public inquiry performed by the human rights defenders, the evidence was obtained which is sufficient for establishing that the investigation of the criminal case based on the fact of Elimkhanova’s abduction was not effective.

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 investigative activities at the initial (most important) stage of the investigation in a timely manner. 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.

At the present time, the investigative authorities failed to identify the whereabouts of Khadizhat or find the persons involved in his disappearance.

Today, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling on Lilya Khasiyeva’s application related to the abduction of her daughter. The Strasburg judges unanimously established that violation of Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights took place (the right to life) due to the failure of the Russian authorities to conduct an effective investigation with relation to Khadizhat Elimkhanova’s condition of being a missing person.

With regard to this, a compensation for moral damage in the amount of 26 000 euro is awarded to Lilya Khasiyeva.

“The applicant’s daughter was abducted by armed men near her home in Grozny. The applicant timely applied to the police, having come up with a specific theory on the motives and indicating the persons who might have committed it, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments. – Under these circumstances, especially taking into account the context of unsolved cases with missing persons in the Chechen Republic, the authorities should have taken specific prompt actions for immediate investigation of the committed crime and saving the life of the missing girl. However, this did not happen – the authorities’ response came very late and was rather indifferent, which, in the end, led to the violation of Article 2 of the Convention”.

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