03 June 2010, Thursday

The European Court of Human Rights has found Russia responsible for the disappearance of a Chechen civilian detained by the Russian federal troops on 27 December 2004, Russian Justice Initiative reported today.  

The applicants in Alapayevy v. Russia (no. 39676/06) are the mother and the wife of Salambek Alapayev, who was forcefully taken away by a large group of Russian military servicemen in the early morning of 27 December 2004 from his home in the village of Sernovodsk, Chechnya. The servicemen broke into the house and beat Salambek and his 75-year old grandfather. They searched the house, took Salambek’s passport and driving license, dragged Salambek, bound and barefoot, outside and loaded him onto one of their cars which was driven away in an unknown direction. Many neighbours witnessed the abduction. The applicants have had no news of Salambek Alapayev since that day. 

In its unanimous judgment, the European Court found that:

  • The right to life has been violated in respect of Salambek Alapayev (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);
  • The manner in which the complaint of the applicants was dealt with by the Russian authorities constituted inhuman treatment (Article 3);
  • Salambek Alapayev was unlawfully deprived of his 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).

Salambek’s mother, Alapayeva Lidiya, stated that “It is very important for me that the Court in its judgment clearly indicated that Russian authorities’ stance on non-involvement of Russian servicemen bears no common sense. I do not know why investigative authorities consider it normal to label crimes committed by Russian soldiers as the ones done by ‘unidentified persons’.”

The applicants were awarded 71,000 euro in respect of material and moral damages. In bringing their case to the ECtHR the applicants were assisted by Russian Justice Initiative.  

For more information,  

               Vanessa Kogan: + 7 (495) 915-0869; 

               Roemer Lemaître: ++7 (906) 7723632.

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