European rights court raps Russia over missing Chechen

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The European Court of Human Rights rapped Russia Thursday over the abduction, tortur e and disappearance of a Chechen man who it concluded was finally killed by soldiers.

The Strasbourg-based court said Murad Gelayev was arrested on February 27, 2000 by soldiers speaking flawless Russian -- some of them sporting masks -- from his home in a Chechen village, under the control of Russian troops.

"They demanded to check Murad Gelayev's passport and beat his mother, Amint Gelayeva, with rifle-butts. After handing the passport back, they dragged Murad outside," a statement said.

He was taken to a detention centre, where according to the testimony of other detainees, they were "stripped naked, repeatedly beaten with iron pipes and steel rods and had dogs set on them.

"During an interrogation an officer cut off Murad's ear with a knife," the court statement said.

The court said "Murad Gelayev had been arrested by state servicemen during an unacknowledged security operation," and accused Russia of dragging its feet on a subsequent probe and trying to hush up the incident.

It ordered Russia 18,000 euros (23,129 dollars) to Gelayev's parents in damages and 10,000 euros in "non-pecuniary damages" to his mother, Amint Gelayeva.

It was also ordered to pay 78,000 euros to six family members jointly.

Moscow has been condemned more than 150 times by the court for its actions in the Caucasus and the disappearance of more than 200 persons, most of them in Chechnya.

Russia has been ordered to pay more than eight million euros in compensation since the first case of a missing person in Chechnya came up before the court. Moscow has paid up but refused to re-open the cases.

© 2010 AFP

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