The European Court of Human Rights has found Russia responsible for the death of a Chechen civilian killed by the Russian federal troops on 18 February 2003, Russian Justice Initiative reported today.
The applicants in Dzhabrailovy v. Russia (no. 3678/06) are the mother, sister and brother of Valid Dzhabrailov, who was illegally detained and subsequently killed by Russian military servicemen. In the early morning of 16 February 2003, the servicemen broke into the applicants’ home in the village of Pervomayskaya and arrested Valid and his brother Aslan. The servicemen handcuffed the brothers, dragged them outside and forced them onto a military car. While in the car, the two brothers were severely beaten and kicked. At the final destination place the two brothers, cold and bleeding, were placed in separate rooms. Aslan could hear his brother’s screams from pain inflicted upon him during the interrogation. The servicemen then came into Aslan’s cell, where they beat him with pistols and a heavy flashlight. The detention lasted for two days during which no food or drink was provided, and several interrogations similar to the first one took place. On 18 February 2003, blindfolded with a plastic bag over his head and hands tied behind his back, Aslan was taken to a car, where he found something heavy and cold lying on the floor. Aslan later realized that it was the corpse of his brother, Valid. The brothers were taken to an abandoned building in the Zavodskoy district of Grozny. One of the soldiers shot Aslan into the head. Fortunately, the shot was not fatal. Aslan pretended to be dead. Next, the soldiers put two bodies one on top of the other and lit the fuse of an explosive before leaving. After Aslan managed to free himself and extinguish the burning fuse, he ran away from that place. Later that day the applicants’ relatives went to the Zavodskoy district of Grozny and found Valid’s body with traces of torture.
In its unanimous judgment, the European Court found that:
- The right to life has been violated in respect of Valid Dzhabrailov (Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights);
- The Russian authorities have failed to conduct an effective investigation into the above violation (Article 2);
- No effective investigation was conducted into Aslan Dzhabrailov’s complaint that he was subjected to inhuman treatment (Article 3);
- Valid and Aslan Dzhabrailov were unlawfully deprived of their liberty (Article 5);
- The applicants did not have access to an effective remedy before Russian authorities for the violations (Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2 of the Convention).
The applicants were awarded 94,700 euro in respect of material and moral damages. In bringing their case to the ECtHR the applicants were assisted by Russian Justice Initiative.
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