On May 18, 2016, Russian Justice Initiative sent to the ECHR an application defending the rights of convicted person Ayub Tuntuyev, who was forced to sign a confession to new crimes under torture. The authorities prevented lawyers from seeing Tuntuyev and the statement about torture was not properly investigated.
While held in Prison Colony 6 in the village of Melikhovo, Vladimir Region, Tuntuyev signed on May 27, 2015, a confession to having taken part in armed combat in Chechnya and Dagestan in 2000-2005. Lawyers are certain that this confession was obtained under torture.
According to Tuntuyev’s statement, staff at Prison Colony 6 took him, handcuffed and with a sack over his head, to another room on the prison colony’s territory and began beating him. “They forced [me] to the floor and started beating my heels with an object. They beat me roughly until the following morning, without interruption […] As they beat me, they read me some documents and urged me to confirm my participation in an unlawful armed group. […] They also said to me, “We know that you didn’t do this, but you’re going to confess to it”, lawyers at Russian Justice Initiative said, quoting Tuntuyev’s statement.
It was not six months later, in January 2016, that Tuntuyev learned that he was to undergo a medical examination, but this examination has still not taken place. Furthermore, under pressure from the prison officials, Tuntuyev was obliged on two occasions to refuse lawyers’ assistance.
In February 2016, Tuntuyev was transferred for six months to a separate cell at Prison Colony 6. Lawyers are aware that continued pressure is being put on him.
“Obtaining confessions under torture, pressuring the applicant to refuse legal help, and failure to investigate the allegations of these facts all violate the basic principles of Russian law and the European Convention”, said Diana Kostina, lawyer with Russian Justice Initiative. “The applicant remains in a vulnerable situation. Tuntuyev has been returned to the very prison colony where he says that prison staff tortured him. What’s more, the investigators grossly violated the standards for effective investigation. They twice had him questioned by the same prison staff who tortured him, but never questioned him themselves, even though they had the obligation to do so. A forensic medical examination that could have shed light on the situation was not carried out. We hope that the application to the ECHR will ensure his security”, she said.