08 June 2017, Thursday

Ayub Tuntuyev, a former member of the Chechen president’s security service and the Argun Counterterrorism Office, is currently held in Stavropol Territory Pre-Trial Detention Centre No. 2.

On March 23, 2009, Tuntuyev applied to the ECHR in connection with the circumstances of his arrest. He complained of torture and the authorities’ refusal to investigate this use of torture.

On June 12, 2013, his application was communicated to the Russian government. Later, he was transferred from Magadan via Omsk to Prison Colony No. 6 in Vladimir Region, on May 17, 2015. After arriving at Prison Colony No. 6, he was beaten during the night by six prison colony staff.

On May 26, 2015, the prison colony staff moved him to another building at the prison colony. He was handcuffed and they put a sack over his head. He was forced to lie on the floor and they beat him on the heels with a hard object, and then beat him all over his body. During the beating, officers demanded that he confess to being a member of illegal armed groups. The beatings continued for 2 days, until the evening of May 27, 2015.  

On May 27, the applicant was forced under torture to sign a statement confessing to participation in armed combat against the federal armed forces in Chechnya over 1994-2005 and the armed clashes of 1999 in Dagestan’s Botlikh District.

On June 18, 2015, Tuntuyev’s wife turned to a lawyer, who on June 25 that same year went to Prison Colony No. 6, but was not allowed to meet with Tuntuyev. The prison colony officials explained this refusal with the statement that Tuntuyev had been forced to sign that same day, renouncing his right to a lawyer.

On July 13, 2015, another lawyer hired by Tuntuyev’s wife was also not allowed to meet with Tuntuyev. This time, the officials cited a statement renouncing the right to a lawyer, signed by Tuntuyev a day earlier.

Tuntuyev himself says that he signed both of these statements under duress.

On March 6, 2016, Tuntuyev sent to the investigative officials a request to undergo a forensic medical examination and asked for an investigation into his complaints about cruel treatment and torture at the prison colony.

On March 17, 2016, the investigator refused to provide a lawyer with the results of Tuntuyev’s forensic medical examination.

Around 9-10am on May 17, 2016, two unknown men in civilian clothes entered Tuntuyev’s cell at Prison Colony No.6, blindfolded him and beat him on the kidneys, head and chest. They told him that he would be poisoned if he did not sign the documents given to him for signature.

Later that same day, Tuntuyev was taken to the headquarters of Prison Colony No.6, where he was met by three men who introduced themselves as being from the Federal Security Service (FSB). The three men spent half-an-hour threatening him and pressuring him to confess to a new crime. Another man then entered the room and introduced himself as an investigator from Pyatigorsk. He asked Tuntuyev to sign a statement renouncing his right to a lawyer. Tuntuyev refused. The investigator did not insist and left. The three FSB men returned and, facing their threats, Tuntuyev was forced to renounce the right to a lawyer.  

In his application to the ECHR, Tuntuyev cites violations of Article 3, due to the inhuman treatment he faced at Prison Colony No. 6 in May 2015, and the authorities’ refusal to conduct an effective investigation into his complaints.

On June 1, 2017, Tuntuyev’s application was communicated to the Russian Government. The communication asked the Government questions regarding whether an effective investigation into the applicant’s complaints of torture and inhuman treatment at Prison Colony No. 6 was carried out.

Once the Government’s responses are received, Justice Initiative will present new statements in Tuntuyev’s defence, as per the procedures set out by the European Court of Human Rights. 

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