ECHR Fines Russia About 145 Thousand Euro
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has fined Russia about 145 Thousand Euro over abduction of 3 Chechen men in 2001 and 2005.
Here is the press release:
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
ECHR 095 (2015)
The European Court of Human Rights has today notified in writing the following two judgments related with Chechnya.
Gambulatova v. Russia (application no. 11237/10)
Zhebrailova and Others v. Russia (no. 40166/07)
Both cases concerned disappearances in Chechnya.
The applicant in the first case, Zulay Gambulatova, is a Russian national who was born in 1949 and lives in Mayrtup in Shali district, the Chechen Republic (Russia). She alleged that her son Vakhit Gambulatov, born in 1976, had been detained on 28 June 2001 at a military checkpoint and taken to a police station in Kurchaloy. Her son’s detention at the station was confirmed and over the following weeks she went to the station every day, bringing him food and collecting his laundry from the guards. At the beginning of August, however, she was told by a duty officer that her son had been transferred elsewhere. She has had no news of her son since. The ensuing investigation into her son’s disappearance, suspended on several occasions with periods of inactivity, is still pending and has so far failed to establish what exactly happened to her son. The Government submit that Ms Gambulatova’s son was released on 26 July 2001 and that it has not yet been possible to establish his whereabouts.
The applicants in the second case, Isita Zhebrailova, Shuddi Vakhayev, and their son, Salavdi Zhebrailov, are Russian nationals who were born in 1956, 1954, and 1980 respectively and live in village of Gekhi, the Chechen Republic (Russia). They alleged that a group of armed police officers in uniform burst into the family home in Gekhi at midnight on 25 April 2005 and abducted Salavdi (the third applicant) and his brother, Balavdi Zhebrailov, born in 1982. According to Salavdi, he and his brother were then taken for police interrogation in Grozny. The brothers were placed in a basement cell and beaten with rifle butts before being separated; Salavdi was taken later the next day to a
market in Grozny and released. The family have had no news of Balavdi since. The family immediately informed the local police of the brothers’ abduction and a criminal investigation was opened two months later in June 2005. The applicants complained that there was nothing to justify such a delay in opening the proceedings, which had then been carried out with significant shortcomings (superficial inspection of the scene of the abduction and failure to interview any of the police officers involved in the brothers’ interrogation) and that this was part of a systematic pattern of refusal to investigate such abductions in the Chechen Republic at the time. The Government submitted that the investigation into Balavdi Zhebrailov’s disappearance was still ongoing and that there was no evidence beyond reasonable doubt that he had been abducted by the police or that he was even dead.
All the applicants complained that their relatives had disappeared after being placed in unacknowledged detention by Russian servicemen/policemen and that the missing men were to be presumed dead, alleging that this had caused them mental suffering. They also complained that the authorities had failed to carry out an effective investigation into the disappearances of their relatives. Salavdi Zhebrailov further complained about the ill-treatment he had been subjected to following his abduction and that the authorities’ investigation into his allegations had been inadequate. They relied on Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 5 (right to liberty and security) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
– In the case of Gambulatova:
Violation of Article 2 (right to life) – in respect of Vakhit Gambulatov
Violation of Article 2 (investigation)
Violation of Article 3 – in respect of Zulay Gambulatova, on account of her son’s disappearance and the authorities’ response to her suffering
Violation of Article 5 – in respect of Vakhit Gambulatov
Violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Articles 2 and 3
Just satisfaction: 60,000 euros (EUR) (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 3,000 (costs and expenses)
– In the case of Zhebrailova and Others:
Violation of Article 2 (right to life) – in respect of Balavdi Zhebrailov
Violation of Article 2 (investigation)
Violation of Article 3 (inhuman and degrading treatment) – in respect of Salavdi Zhebrailov
Violation of Article 3 (investigation) – in respect of Salavdi Zhebrailov
Violation of Article 3 – in respect of Isita Zhebrailova, Shuddi Vakhayev and Salavdi Zhebrailov, on account of their mental suffering
Violation of Article 5 – in respect of Balavdi Zhebrailov and Salavdi Zhebrailov
Violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Articles 2 and 3 – in relation to the disappearance of Balavdi Zhebrailov
Violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 3 – in respect of Salavdi Zhebrailov
Just satisfaction: EUR 60,000 jointly to Isita Zhebrailova, Shuddi Vakhayev and Salavdi Zhebrailov and EUR 19,500 to Salavdi Zhebrailov, in respect of non-pecuniary damage; and GBP 1,863 to the three applicants jointly in respect of costs and expenses