The European Court of Human Rights has found Russia responsible for the torture of a Chechen pensioner who was detained by Russian troops in 2000, Russian Justice Initiative and the Committee Against Torture reported today.
The applicant in Sadykov v. Russia (no. 41840/02) is Mr. Alaudin Sadykov, a school teacher by profession. At the time of his detention he was working in a “burial group” for the Emergencies Ministry and was also fetching and distributing water and supplies for the residents of the Oktyabrsky District of Grozny. At around 10 a.m. on March 5, 2000 Alaudin was distributing drinking water to residents of his assigned district when a group of Russian servicemen in two UAZ vehicles pulled up. They asked Alaudin to get into their vehicle and give them directions. When the servicemen arrived at the location they were looking for, Alaudin asked to be let out; in response, they hit him and put a bag over his head. He was then taken to the Temporary Office of the Interior of the Oktyabrskiy District of Grozny.
During Sadykov’s detention, which lasted a little less than three months, the officers forced him to chew and swallow his own hair, severely burned the palm of his right hand, broke his nose and ribs, kicked out several of his teeth, and finally, cut off his left ear. The Court described this last action as a “horrid act of violence” and found it “shocking” that such an act was committed by a police officer who was supposed to be protecting civilians.
Alaudin also had over three million rubles’ worth of property stolen and looted from his house during his detention.
In 2002 Alaudin with the assistance of the Russian Justice Initiative brought his case to the European Court of Human Rights, which declared the application admissible in 2009.
A criminal case was opened into the applicant’s ill-treatment and the theft of his property by the Prosecutor’s office. After five years of investigation with no results Alaudin contacted a regional office of the Committee Against Torture in Nizhny Novgorod. The organization’s lawyers were able to obtain a significant portion of the case file which showed that the official investigation had been suspended multiple times with no justification despite the fact that the violations were obvious and the identities of the officials involved had been established.
In its judgment the European Court voiced sharp criticism of the ineffectiveness of the investigation, pointing to “remarkable shortcomings” in the course of the investigation which it deemed “absurd” and which highlighted a severe lack of professionalism and the unwillingness of the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
In its unanimous decision the European Court found that:
- Alaudin Sadykov was subject to torture into which no effective investigation was conducted (Violation of Article 3 of the European Convention);
- The Russian authorities violated Alaudin Sadykov’s right to property in connection with the theft of his property (Article 1 of Protocol No. 1) with regard to two of his cars;
- Alaudin Sadykov did not have access to an effective remedy before the Russian authorities for the violations suffered (Article 13 of the Convention in conjunction with both Article 3 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention in so far as the theft of his cars was concerned);
- The Government’s failure to provide the Court with the materials of the criminal case file constitutes a refusal to cooperate with the Court in its investigation (Article 38).
Alaudin Sadykov was awarded EUR 79,800 in material and moral damages.
For more information,
Russian Justice Initiative: Vanessa Kogan: + 7 (495)915-0869; +7(925)863-5111
Committee Against Torture: Igor Kalyapin, +7 (951)902-6539
Facts of the case (in Russian), via the Committee Against Torture.