Chechen Woman Wins Case against Russia for Husband’s Disappearance

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 15

The European Court of Human Rights on April 5 awarded 51,732 euros (more than $69,000) in compensation to Asmart Baysayeva, whose husband disappeared in 2000 in the settlement of Podgornoye, near Grozny, during a security sweep by federal troops. The court also ruled that Russia should pay her 12,994 euros (more than $17,000) in legal expenses, Ekho Moskvy radio reported on April 5. According to Reuters, the court ruled that Russia had failed to protect the life of Shakhid Baysayev, who disappeared on his way to work, and that the authorities failed to carry out a proper investigation into his disappearance. The court said it had concluded that “the liability for his presumed death was attributable to the Russian government.” As Reuters noted, the ruling marked the sixth time in a row that the Strasbourg-based court has ruled against Russia in a case related to Chechnya.

Reuters reported that among the evidence presented to the court was an amateur videotape obtained by Asmart Baysayeva that showed her husband lying on the ground being kicked by a soldier and then being taken away toward disused buildings. In the video, Baysayev was wearing a brown sheepskin coat. After her husband went missing, Asmart Baysayeva and two local investigators went to the buildings where they found a fragment of cloth that looked like it came from his coat. Soon afterwards, she was told that the two investigators had died when their car blew up on the way to the prosecutor’s office. Local prosecutors opened a criminal investigation but failed to establish what happened to Baysayev or identify those responsible for his apparent abduction.

According to Ekho Moskvy, the European Court of Human Rights is currently considering 200 similar complaints about the actions of the Russian authorities in Chechnya.