The obscure disappearance of a Grozny citizen will become the subject of the European Court examination


30 January 2017

Today, on 30 January 2017, lawyers of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights based on the fact of kidnapping Aslanbek Saydakhmadov from Grozny in 2009 as well as on the fact of his traceless disappearance in 2010. According to human rights defenders, the Russian Federation violated Article 2 of the European Convention (“the right to life”) as well as failed to perform efficient investigation of these facts, having violated Article 13 of the Convention (“the right to effective legal remedy”). The complaint is lodged on belalf of Aslanbek’s mother Mariya Malayeva. 

(Aslanbek Saydakhmadov)

On 11 April 2012 Mariya Malayeva applied to Joint Mobile Group of human rights defenders, working in the Chechen Republic (JMG) for legal assistance. She reported that on 3 August 2009 two unknown young men took her son Aslanbek from her apartment. To her question where he was taken, the response was that the point of destination is the Department of the Interior of the Leninsky District of Grozny. Mariya’s neighbors saw armed men arrived on two Russian-made vehicles, put Aslanbek in one of the cars and left in unknown direction.  

On the same day Mariya applied to the Ministry of the Interior and the Prosecutor’s Office with a complaint about the kidnapping of her son. However, the criminal case based on this fact was initiated only on 14 August. Later on it was suspended repeatedly, and on 30 December 2009 it was altogether dismissed – the officers of the Ministry of the Interior for the Chechen Republic delivered Aslanbek from Astrakhan to Grozny, where in the course of interrogation he explained that no one kidnapped him, and that all this time he was with his aunt in Astrakhan.  

However, after Aslanbek provided testimony on the criminal case he disappeared again. This time without a trace.   

On 24 February 2010 a criminal case was initiated based on this fact under part 1 Article 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“murder”).  

In the course of this case investigation Aslanbek’s aunt – Shukran Kukulayeva– reported to the investigators that her nephew indeed came to her in Astrakhan and told her that he was kidnapped by the police officers and was kept on the territory of the Special Police Force base in Grozny, however, he managed to escape from there.  

In the course of the public investigation conducted by human rights defenders, convincing evidence was obtained which demonstrated that criminal cases on kidnapping and traceless disappearance of Saydakhmadov were highly inefficient.
With regard to this lawyers of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights today.   

“We have all the grounds to state that investigation of criminal cases on violent disappearances in the Chechen Republic is highly inefficient. Despite the opening of criminal cases, the inaction of investigators did not allow to promptly perform the required activities at the initial most important stage of the investigation, although there were lots of pieces of data demanding instantaneous response, – lawyer on international law of the Interregional non-governmental organization “The Committee for the Prevention of Torture” Ekaterina Vanslova comments. – Subsequently the investigators time after time suspended criminal cases, having failed to perform necessary investigative activities, many of which have already lost their significance by now. At the same time absence of special investigative techniques of the cases follow-up is striking. For example, the key witnesses did not show up for interrogations, seizure of necessary documentation was not conducted, the Ministry of the Interior for the Chechen Republic simply ignored the requests of the investigative authority head. The investigator saw all this, but performed nothing and, as a result, even failed to timely arrange the visual examination of the incident scene, instead he issued a large number of refusal rulings. In our complaint we pointed at these drawbacks, among many others.”

Despite the complaint submitted to the European Court, human rights defenders intend to continue their work on these cases at the national level, too.  

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