14 March 2017, Tuesday

On March 14, 2017, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) delivered a judgment on the case of Arsan Mukayev v. Russia, submitted in 2008. In its ruling, the ECHR recognised the violations of articles 3 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and awarded the applicant 45,500 in damages, noting that he was subjected to torture while under the control of state officials. The ECHR also recognised his court trial as unfair. 

The case documents show that Arsan Mukayev was arrested on January 13, 2006 in Kazakhstan. In February 2006, he was extradited to Russia. On February 23, 2006, he was brought to Operations and Investigations Office No. 2 (ORB-2) in Grozny, where he was beaten severely and subjected to electric shock torture for a month. Under torture, he was forced to sign confessions. Later, it turned out that his local lawyer was pressured by the investigator into signing the protocols of the confessions with the wrong date, for which he lost his status of defence lawyer.

In March 2006, Mukayev declared his innocence to the investigators and said that he signed the documents so as to avoid further violence at the hands of staff at ORB-2. After this, he was again subjected to electric shock torture. He sent complaints about inhuman treatment to the Russian Federation Prosecutor’s Office, but they refused to prosecute the matter.  

During his trial, Mukayev said that while in detention he was repeatedly subject to inhuman treatment and given electric shock torture to force him to confess. He said that he can identify the police officers who tortured him. Despite these statements, no investigation was made and in May 2007, Mukayev was declared guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.  

“In its ruling on the case of Mukayev v. Russia (No. 22495/08), the ECHR reiterated that the use as evidence in criminal cases of statements obtained under torture makes the trial unfair in general”, said lawyer Olga Gnezdilova. “Thanks to this ECHR judgment, Mukayev’s sentence will be reviewed and the authorities will be obliged to conduct an effective investigation into the use of torture. At the same time, Justice Initiative is handling the totally identical case of Ayub Tuntuyev, who was repeatedly beaten by the police, subjected to electric shock torture, forced to renounce his defence lawyer and forced to speak against himself. Despite the fact that the ECHR has already sent preliminary questions to the Russian government on Tuntuyev’s case, the North Caucasus District Military Court refused to reject as inadmissible the evidence obtained under torture”, she said.

Earlier, in a similar case, Tangiyev v. Russia (No. 27610/05) , Justice Initiative obtained the holding of a Russian Federation Supreme Court hearing that ruled that in light of the ECHR judgment, the sentence should be overturned and the case sent back for a new examination.

Arsan Mukayev is currently serving his sentence in a high security prison colony and intends to make use of the ECHR judgment to get the sentence handed down in 2006 reviewed.  

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