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Published: 23 Apr 2009
Alaudinova v Russia
Case No. 32297/05
Judgment date: 23 April 2009
The applicant in this case is mother of Bekkhan Alaudinov, who disappeared on 8 November 2001. According to the applicant, a group of men, armed with machine guns and wearing camouflage uniforms, had broken into the applicant’s family home in the early hours of 8 November 2001. They abducted the applicant’s son in a military lorry. He has not been seen since then. Shortly after their departure, the applicant had heard the sound of gunshots. In an attempt to follow her son, the applicant was stopped and ordered to return home due to the curfew existing in the area at the time. Since the day of her son’s abduction, the applicant has repeatedly applied to various public bodies asking for assistance in locating the whereabouts of her son and requesting details of the investigation. A criminal investigation into the disappearance of the applicant’s son was instituted on 12 December 2001, however it was suspended and resumed on several occasions due to the failure to identify the perpetrators.
The Court established that the fact that a large group of armed men in uniform, equipped with military vehicles, was able to move freely through military roadblocks during curfew hours, and given the situation in Chechnya at the time, suggested that these were State servicemen conducting a security operation. The Court ruled that the applicant’s son must be “presumed dead” following his unacknowledged detention by Russian servicemen, and found a violation of Article 2.
In addition, the Court took note that the investigation, having been repeatedly suspended and resumed, was plagued by inexplicable delays and had been pending for many years having produced no tangible results. The Court found violation of the procedural limb of Article 2.
In respect to the applicant herself, the Court considered that as the mother of a disappeared person, who witnessed his abduction, and not having had any news of him for more than seven years, she suffered distress and anguish. This, coupled with the manner in which her complaints had been dealt with by the authorities, constituted inhuman treatment contrary to Article 3.
The unacknowledged detention of the applicant’s son, without any of the safeguards of Article 5, constituted “a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security”.
The Court also found a violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2 given the ineffectiveness of the criminal investigation into the disappearance and the lack of any other effective remedy.
The applicant was awarded EUR 35,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damages.