Yesterday, on 14 September 2020, the European Court of Human Rights posed questions to the Russian authorities concerning Salman Tepsurkayev, a chat moderator of 1Adat Telegram-channel. As we have previously reported, he was abducted in Gelendzhik by people who introduced themselves as the Ministry of the Interior officers. Later on, the relatives managed to track the whereabouts of Salman’s phone on the territory of regiment of the Patrol-Guard Service of the Police named after Akhmat Kadyrov located in Grozny.
On 6 September 2020, Salman Tepsurkayev was abducted in Gelendzhik. He was a chat moderator of 1Adat Telegram channel which informs about violations of human rights in the Chechen Republic. Witnesses report that the abductors presented their IDs of the Ministry of the Interior officers. For twenty-four hours there was no information about the fate of Salman. But in the evening of 7 September, his phone was turned on again and the relatives managed to obtain his geolocation data, according to which Salman’s phone was on the territory of regiment of the Patrol-Guard Service of the Police named after Akhmat Kadyrov located in Grozny.
On the same day, 7 September, a person under nickname “Hunter” published a video in the chat of 1Adat Telegram-channel, in which Salman Tepsurkayev curses himself and his channel in the Chechen language, after that he attempts to sit on a glass bottle.
On 11 September, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application to the ECHR with regard to the violation of Tepsurkayev’s rights, provided by Articles 3 and 5 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms: “prohibition of torture” and ‘right to personal integrity”. Human rights defenders requested that the Court applies “Rule 39” and demands from the Russian Federation to take provisional measures to establish the whereabouts of Tepsurkayev, as well as to ensure the guarantee of his release and safety.
Yesterday, the European Court replied that in order to apply “Rule 39” it is necessary to obtain additional materials on this case from human rights defenders and from the state, which would confirm the fact of Salman’s abduction, his transportation to the territory of the regiment of the Patrol-Guard Service of the Police named after Akhmat Kadyrov, as well as the fact of applications by human rights defenders to law-enforcement bodies with the report on the crime committed against Tepsurkayev.
The ECHR posed the Russian authorities questions on whether Salman was abducted, subjected to torture, whether there is there any official investigation ongoing with regard to this, as well as with regard to the video where Salman is performing self-torture, whether the Russian authorities are aware of Salman’s whereabouts, if he was officially apprehended, then, for what reason and for what duration, and whether he has an opportunity to see the relatives and his lawyer.
Human rights defenders and the Russian authorities are proposed to prepare and submit their response to the ECHR by 5 p.m. of 16 September.
“We think that based on the results of this communication, the ECHR will demand from the Russian authorities to take provisional measures to establish the whereabouts of Tepsurkayev, as well as to ensure the guarantee of his release and safety, – head of International and Legal Department with the Committee Against Torture Olga Sadovskaya comments. – We will provide additional evidence of the fact that after the abduction Tepsurkayev was under the state control and at that moment his whereabouts is unknown. At the same time, I doubt that the state will have anything to respond to the question about the official investigation. As far as I can judge, only human rights defenders and journalists are investigating this case, so far”.