17 May 2016, Tuesday

Leyla Muruzheva has spent her entire life in Moscow. She has two children, but her marriage fell apart in March 2014. During the divorce, the couple failed to reach an agreement on which parent would take custody of the children.
In January 2014, Muruzheva’s former husband took the children to Ingushetia, where he left them with his parents, and himself returned to Moscow. The son was 4.5 years’ old and the daughter 1.5 years’ old at the moment they left for Ingushetia. In March 2014, Leyla Muruzheva applied to the court to get a decision on where the children should live.

The Izmailovsky District Court ruled in June 2014 that the children should live with their mother. The decision took effect from October 14, 2014, but the children were not returned to their mother. The bailiffs say that they have no way of executing the court decision. Leyla Muruzheva can not only not live with her children but cannot even see them.

“The ECHR decision on priority communication is quite important for resolving Leyla Muruzheva’s case in Russia”, said Bike Gyulmagomedov, a lawyer with Russian Justice Initiative. “The ECHR’s rulings usually lead to the relevant measures being taken at the national level to amend violations of the Convention and of Russian legislation. We hope too that the authorities will amend the violations that have occurred before the ECHR delivers its ruling”.

On April 28, 2016, officers from the Shali District Interior Ministry Office, after a three-year custody battle, returned to Chechnya resident Elita Magomadova her 7-year-old son, who was abducted by her former husband in 2013. Magomadova also filed a complaint with the ECHR.

Lawyers from Russian Justice Initiative handle a considerable number of similar cases in which courts rule in favour of the mother, but children are not handed back. Bailiffs not carrying out court decisions regarding return of children to their mother’s custody is systemic in a number of North Caucasus regions.  

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