Published: 14 Dec 2020
Timur Yandiev was popular among colleagues at the local energy plant where he had worked as a computer programmer. Even after taking on a new job as an IT administrator at another company, Timur still found time to see friends at his old workplace.
On the afternoon of 16 March 2004, Timur dropped his wife Tanzila and their infant daughter Leyla off at his parents-in-laws’ house. On the way home he stopped off at the plant in Nazran.
Timur spent about an hour catching up with old colleagues. When he emerged from the building, two white vehicles with tinted windows and no registration plates entered the courtyard. Masked men burst out of the cars. Timur was thrown to the ground and his head was bludgeoned. He was then bundled into a car and driven off in the direction of Magas, the capital of Ingushetia.
Timur’s old workplace was the last place that he was seen alive. Several employees at the plant witnessed the incident and immediately informed the police and his family.
Traffic police officers manning a checkpoint on the administrative border between Chechnya and Ingushetia later recalled having waved two vehicles through, after one of the drivers produced a special pass which exempted them from police inspection. The cars were allowed to continue to Chechnya.
Starting from the day that Timur was abducted, his family repeatedly applied in person and in writing to various public bodies, including Russia’s Ministry of the Interior, prosecutors at various levels, and the administrative authorities.
Timur’s father Mukhamed immediately suspected the involvement of the security services in his son’s disappearance. Several dozen people, mostly young men, had been kidnapped in Ingushetia in the preceding months under similar circumstances. Mukhamed Yandiev demanded an investigation into whether the security services were behind these incidents and his son’s abduction.
After enquiries were made, both Chechnya’s Ministry of the Interior and local Federal Security Service (FSB) department informed local prosecutors that they had no information about the special passes used by Timur’s abductors.
The Yandiev family repeatedly complained that the investigation into Timur’s abduction was ineffective. They were never provided with any meaningful information about his fate and whereabouts.
Timur’s parents, wife, and daughter later applied to the European Court of Human Rights over his abduction and the lack of effective investigation into the circumstances behind it. They were jointly represented by lawyers from EHRAC and the Russian NGO Memorial HRC.
In 2013, the European Court of Human Rights found that the State was responsible for Timur Yandiev’s death, in breach of his right to life (Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights), and that the Russian authorities had failed to conduct an effective criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding his disappearance (in breach of Art. 2 in its procedural aspect). The Court also found further violations of the right to freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment (Art. 3), because of the distress and anguish which Timur’s family suffered, and continue to suffer, as a result of their inability to discover Timur’s fate, as well as the right to liberty (Art. 5) and the right to an effective remedy (Art. 13 in conjunction with Arts. 2 and 3).
EHRAC submitted Timur Yandiev’s case to the UN’s Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances in December 2019.
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