«We are just sitting on the side of the road, watching the bus burning down.» The ECHR began its consideration of the complaint lodged by the human rights defenders and journalists who had experienced an attack in Chechnya in 2016


18 October 2023


The European Court communicated the complaint filed by eight people. «Communication» means that the Court has commenced its proceedings and has notified the Russian authorities about the case.

In 2016, unknown masked people with wooden clubs assaulted a bus carrying journalists and human rights activists on the border of Ingushetia and Chechnya. Everyone inside was severely beaten, and their personal belongings and equipment were also stolen. As journalist Yegor Skovoroda recalls, the perpetrators shouted: «You protect terrorists, the murderers of our fathers!» When all the passengers left the bus, it was set on fire.

That day, Yegor wrote the following: «We are just sitting on the side of the road, watching the bus burning down with all our belongings and documents. Everyone received injuries of varying severity, the journalist from Sweden was seriously wounded.»

After the assault, the Investigative Committee opened a criminal case, and the head of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, indicated that investigating the incident as soon as possible was «a matter of honor for law enforcement agencies». Vladimir Putin personally ordered to clarify all the circumstances of this attack.

Over the course of several weeks, investigators questioned everyone who had been on the bus. However, it ended there, as soon the victims stopped receiving any information about further investigation, and the perpetrators were never found. Given the zero result of the investigation, the Crew’s lawyers filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the victims of the incident.

In that complaint, the applicants indicate that the brutal attack during a press tour related to human rights violations in Chechnya was because of their professional activities. Human rights defender Yekaterina Vanslova, who was among the passengers, recalls that «the attackers did not demand money or other valuables; their goal was digital storages containing information collected in the first days of our work

The European Court has asked the Russian Federation about attacks on journalists and human rights defenders, but the authorities may ignore the Court’s questions. In any case, the ECHR will still examine the case materials and adopt its judgment.

Подтвердите, что вам есть 18 лет