Europe rights court condemns Russia over missing Chechen

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The European Court of Human Rights Thursday condemned Russia over the 2004 abduction and presumed killing by soldiers of a Chechen civilian, in the latest ruling against Moscow over rights abuses.

The Strasbourg-based court ordered Russia to pay 71,000 euros (87,000 dollars) in damages and interest to the mother and widow of Salambek Alapayev, who was 22 when he disappeared.

A group of eight to 12 men wearing camouflage and speaking Russian stormed into Alapayev's home on December 27, 2004, beat him, tied him up and took him away barefoot in an armoured vehicle. He was never seen again.

Based on witness accounts, the court ruled that the men were Russian troops and that Alapayev was presumed to have died while in detention by the army at an unidentified location.

The judges said Russian authorities failed to carry out a proper inquiry into the circumstances of Alapayev's disappearance and death, violating article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which concerns the right to life.

In April the court ruled against Russia over the disappearance of 10 Chechens between 2000 and 2004 and over the death of a seven-year-old girl in March 2005 in Dagestan, another volatile republic in the Russian Caucasus.

The girl was killed by police gunfire during a storming of the family home.

Moscow has already lost more than 100 cases at the human rights court over actions in the Caucasus, including the cases of more than 200 disappeared people, mostly in Chechnya.

© 2010 AFP

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