View Adopted: 2020.03.11
The authors of the communication are five nationals of the Russian Federation and one national of Kazakhstan. They claim that the Russian Federation has violated their rights under article 7, read alone and in conjunction with articles 2 (3), 9 (1)-(4), and 14 (2) and (3) (a), (b), and (g) of the Covenant.
The authors were all deprived of their liberty by Chechen forces on various occasions in 2004. The authors state that none of them was informed of the reasons of their arrest after their apprehension. The authors state that they were kept in unacknowledged and incommunicado detention and subjected to torture in order to force them to confess to being involved in terrorist activities. The methods included beatings with various objects, electrocution, suffocation with a plastic bag, and threats against their families. They also state that they were not provided with the assistance of a lawyer or interpreter, and some of them were forced to sign a renouncement of legal assistance. At certain points after their arrest, some of them had access to a lawyer. They state that they did not have adequate time and preparation for their defence. The authors were ultimately sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.
They filed several complains about the torture and the treatment they were subjected to, but no effective and thorough investigation was ever carried out. In some cases, the authors expressly reported the identity of the State party’s agents responsible for their torture and requested medical examinations. In the case of Mr Yashuev, the medical examination showed a wound consistent with his allegations. In the other cases, no medical examination was carried out, without justification. In cases where some actions were undertaken by the authorities, the investigation was entrusted to one of the main suspects.
On this basis, the authors submit that the State Party has violated their rights to not be subjected to torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, their rights to liberty and security following their arbitrary arrest and detention, and their rights to a fair trial.
The Committee first noted the authors’ claims that upon apprehension, they were tortured in order to force them to confess guilt, and that subsequently those confessions were retained as evidence against them in court, despite their numerous retractions and their complaints of torture. The Committee, herein, considered that given the State party’s inability to provide detailed explanations regarding the treatment the authors were subjected to during their initial apprehension, due weight must be given to the author’s allegation.
In relation to the duty to properly investigate these allegations, the Committee in second noted that the material on file does not allow it to conclude that investigations into the allegations of torture were carried out promptly or effectively or that any perpetrators were identified despite detailed reports form the authors, witness statements, requests for medical examinations, and for one of the authors a certificate showing signs of injury. It also observed that one of the inquiries lacked the element of impartiality as it was assigned to the same investigator who was allegedly implicated in the author’s torture claims. It also noted that confessions made under torture were retained by the courts.
On the basis of the above, the Committee concluded that the facts before it disclosed a violation of the author’s rights under article 7, read separately and in conjunction with articles 2(3) and 14(3)(g) of the Covenant.