Case No. 7615/02

Decision Date: 20/1/2005

According to the applicant, on 17th December 2000, Said- Khuseyn drove from Novye Atagi to the market at Starye Atagi. Witnesses saw him being detained at a roadblock. One saw him at the market and offered him a lift, which he refused. Others saw a car similar to the one he was driving, surrounded by masked military personnel.

Subsequently, the applicant and her husband applied to various prosecutors and administrative authorities and visited detention centres in Chechnya and beyond, but received little information. On 5th January 2001, the Shali district prosecutor’s office initiated criminal proceedings regarding the kidnapping.

On 21st April 2001 a criminal investigation was opened, but adjourned almost immediately. On 26th February 2002, the prosecutor stated that Said-Khuseyn had been taken away by unknown masked persons and his location remained unknown. On 5th July 2002, the first deputy prosecutor of the Chechen Republic ordered the investigation be resumed, but this was again unsuccessful. The applicant and her husband filed a complaint with the European Court on 12th February 2002.

On 2nd June 2002, servicemen in camouflage allegedly searched their house without a warrant, seizing belongings of relatives who had fled Grozny. The senior officer, telling the applicant that his name was Aleksandr Grigoryevich, aka “Boomerang”, said that they would take her husband to Shali. Four other men were also detained. 30 witness statements were collected by the applicant regarding these events. At Shali, she was reassured all was well with her husband.

During her subsequent search, military personnel at Starye Atagi indicated that they knew “Boomerang”, but her requests to meet him were hindered. The Chechnya Justice Initiative and Human Rights Watch wrote letters to the deputy Representative of the Russian President on Human rights in the Chechen Republic and to the prosecutor of the Chechen Republic requesting urgent measures.

On 2nd July 2002, the applicant was informed her husband had been detained by a terrorist organisation that commits crimes disguised as Federal Forces in order to discredit them. In August 2002, the applicant and relatives of the other disappeared persons visited Shali commandatura. Servicemen there accepted they had been to Novye Atagi, but did not recall the exact date. The commandant allegedly told them 27 people had been detained in June and 15 of them were “eliminated”. Further, the applicant was questioned by the commandant regarding the financing of her application to the European Court. When she denied paying any fees he allegedly stated that her husband had been detained because of his involvement with financing the rebel activities. The applicant concluded from the conversation that her husband’s detention was linked to her application, because both had financial implications.

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