Published: 3 Jul 2008

Musayeva v Russia

Case Summary

Case No. 12703/02
Judgment date: 3 July 2008

Facts

The applicant is the mother of Yakub Iznaurov who was arrested by Russian military forces and later disappeared. According to the applicant, in the morning of 5 February 2000 a group of approximately fifty soldiers dressed in camouflage gear arrived at their house in Grozny and took her son away for questioning and “clarification of circumstances”. The applicant’s son was let out near a tram rail, where he was ordered to kneel on the rails, and was kept in that position for over two hours. He was stripped to his waist, with hands shackled behind his back. He was then taken to Grozny for further questioning and has not been seen since. On 9 February 2001 the applicant’s husband received notification from the Grozny Town Prosecutor’s Office that a criminal investigation had been opened into the “disappearance” of his son. The investigation was suspended and reopened on several occasions due to a failure to identify the culprits.

Judgment

The Court established that applicant’s son had been abducted by Russian servicemen, and in the context of the conflict in Chechnya, when a person had been detained by unidentified servicemen without any subsequent acknowledgment of their detention, it could be regarded as life-threatening. The absence of the applicant’s son or any news of him for several years meant he had to be presumed dead following his unacknowledged detention by Russian servicemen. In the absence of any justification by the authorities for the use of lethal force by their agents, the Court concluded that there was a violation of Article 2.

The Court also held a further violation of Article 2 concerning the Russian authorities’ failure to carry out an effective investigation into the circumstances in which the applicant’s son had disappeared.

It considered that the applicant’s suffering as a result of her son’s disappearance and her inability to find out what had happened to him, coupled with the manner in which her complaints had been dealt with by the authorities, constituted inhuman treatment in violation of Article 3.

The Court further noted that the applicant’s son had been made to kneel on tram tracks, half dressed with a mask pulled over his face and his hands tied by metal wire behind his back, for two hours in the cold. It therefore held that there was a violation of Article 3 in respect of the ill-treatment of applicant’s son and that there had been a further violation of Article 3 in that the authorities had failed to conduct an effective investigation into that ill-treatment.

The fact that the applicant’s son had been held in unacknowledged detention without any of the safeguards contained in Article 5 constituted a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security enshrined in that provision.

Lastly, the Court found two violations of Article 13 in respect of the alleged violation of Articles 2 and of Article 3 as regards the applicant’s son.

The applicant was awarded EUR 35,000 in respect to non-pecuniary damages.