Jurist reports that the ECHR has once again found the Kremlin guilty of state-sponsored murder in Chechnya:
The European Court of Human Rights Thursday ruled [press release] that Russian authorities were responsible for the 2001 death of a Chechen man who died after he was taken into Russian custody during a raid. The court ordered Russia to pay €62,285 compensation to the family of Shamil Said-Khasanovich Akhmadov, whose battered body was discovered in a field after being detained by Russian forces. The case is not the only one brought against Russia by Chechens; the president of the court has said almost a fifth of the 90,000 complaints currently before the court name the Russian government as a defendant. Radio Free Europe has more. In April the ECHR ordered Russia to compensate a Chechen woman [JURIST report] for the disappearance and alleged killing of her husband in 2000.
Jeremy Putley writes to tell La Russophobe about a petition which he and others are signing to stand up for victims of state-sponsored abduction and murder in Chechnya. You can view and sign the petition here. The background is as follows:
Increase legal protection for Chechen refugees !
22 April 2007
To: Mr Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
CC: Mr Ilham Aliyev, President of the Azerbaijani Republic
Dear Mr Guterres and Mr Aliyev,
It is with the greatest regret and concern that we have to tell you that, as a consequence of your inaction, Ruslan Eliyev has been brutally murdered. Ruslan Eliyev, a refugee from the Chechen Republic who had been granted mandate status by the UNCHR, was abducted in Baku on 9 November 2006. When we heard about the abduction, we, the undersigned, and other Chechen non- governmental organizations appealed to you many times, giving the name of the victim and the circumstances of the abduction, and we asked you to investigate the abduction of a mandate refugee (UNCHR registration number 6032) on Azerbaijani territory and to make public the progress of the investigation.
We did not receive a reply to our appeals either from you, Mr High Commissioner, or from you, Mr President. It is as though abduction in a country that is seeking to be democratic is not a grave crime and can be ignored. Or perhaps you think that if the victim is a Chechen then this grave crime is moved beyond the bounds of international law? We have no other explanation for your failure to act. You cannot claim that you did not know: you were even told the name of the victim.
We sent our statement about the abduction of Eliyev to Amnesty International and other international human rights activists. Many rights activists and employees of humanitarian organizations knew about the case and some of them replied to us. However, there was no reaction at all from those who could have influenced the situation in some way. When the kidnappers realized that no-one was concerned about the fate of their victim, they felt they could act with complete impunity. Here is a report about the violence against Ruslan Eliyev for those who still take an interest in the fate of abducted Chechens.
Quoting sources in Chechnya, the Chechenpress news agency, reported:
“Several mutilated bodies that had been dropped from Russian helicopters were found in Chechnya’s Samashki forest at the end of March. The bodies were in sacks. Several local residents saw the sacks being dropped over the forest. Ruslan Aliyevich Eliyev, born in 1975, and kidnapped at approximately 1930 on 9 November in Baku, was identified amongst the victims. The marks on the bodies found in the Samashki forest show that the Chechens had been horrifically tortured. Ruslan Eliyev had had his nails pulled out, his eyes gouged out, his body was covered with terrible burns, his fingers had been broken, his ears and nose had been cut off. Ruslan Eliyev leaves three young children.”
We urge you, Mr Guterres and Mr Aliyev, to:
- Organize and support an investigation into the abduction and murder of Chechen refugee Ruslan Eliyev.
- Pay the greatest attention to any reports of the abduction of people protected by refugee status, remembering that the kidnappers enjoy complete immunity.
- Increase the legal protection of Chechen refugees who are already protected by refugee status.
- Speed up the examination of applications for refugee status from people from Chechnya.
- Make public the results of the investigation into this crime.
May we draw your attention once again to the fact that people do not flee Chechnya in search of the good life. People escape Chechnya with great difficulty, fleeing Stalinist repression or the mafia war that international politicians have agreed to ignore.
Director, Chechen Human Rights Centre
Amnesty International, USA
Marexa human rights organization, Netherlands
International Association for Peace and Human Rights, Strasbourg
Boston Committee Against Ethnic Cleansing, USA
Amnesty International, USA