Постановление ЕСПЧ от 05.11.2015 <Дело Бузуртанова и Зархматова (Buzurtanova and Zarkhmatova) против России> (жалоба N 78633/12) [англ.]

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
FIRST SECTION
CASE OF BUZURTANOVA AND ZARKHMATOVA v. RUSSIA
(Application no. 78633/12)
JUDGMENT <*>
(Strasbourg, 5.XI.2015)

———————————
<*> This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Buzurtanova and Zarkhmatova v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
, President,
Khanlar Hajiyev,
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska,
Julia Laffranque,
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque,
Erik ,
Dmitry Dedov, judges,
and Wampach, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 13 October 2015,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROСEDURE

  1. The case originated in an application (no. 78633/12) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms («the Convention») by two Russian nationals, Ms Liza Buzurtanova and Ms Leila Zarkhmatova («the applicants»), on 11 December 2012.
  2. The applicants, who had been granted legal aid, were represented by Ms O. Preobrazhenskaya, a lawyer practising in Strasbourg. The Russian Government («the Government») were represented by Mr G. Matyushkin, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
  3. The applicants alleged that their relative had been abducted by State agents in December 2012 in North Ossetia-Alania, Russia, and subsequently disappeared and that the authorities had failed to investigate the matter effectively.
  4. On 8 March 2013 the application was communicated to the Government.

 

THE FACTS

 

  1. The circumstances of the case

 

  1. The applicants were born in 1970 and 1987 respectively. The first applicant lives in Noviy Redant, Ingushetia, and the second applicant in Mayskiy (also spelled as Mayskoye), North Ossetia-Alania. The first applicant is the sister of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov, who was born in 1983. The second applicant is his wife.

 

  1. Disappearance of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov and subsequent developments

 

  1. The applicants’ account

 

(a) Disappearance of the applicants’ relative

  1. At the material time Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov was working as a martial arts trainer in the «Ellin» sports club (gym) (in the documents submitted also referred to as the «Kaloy» sports club) in Nazran, Ingushetia. He was the mixed martial arts European champion and a well-known sportsman in the region. He and the second applicant lived in Mayskiy, a settlement on the border between North Ossetia-Alania and Ingushetia. Permanent checkpoint no. 105, also known as «Chermenskiy krug», was located between Mayskiy on one side of the border and the settlement of Chermen on the other. The checkpoint was equipped with CCTV cameras. Every passing vehicle was checked along with the driver’s and passengers’ identity documents. From the documents submitted to the Court it appears that other traffic checkpoints were located in the area.
  2. Between 9 and 10 p.m. on 6 December 2012 Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov was driving home from Nazran in his white Lada-Priora car with registration number AH214A06. At about 10 p.m. he called his wife saying that he would arrive soon, but he did not. The applicants tried to call him, but his mobile phone was switched off. At around 5 a.m. on 7 December 2012 the applicants and their relatives found Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s training shoe, socks and hat in a street in the neighbourhood.
  3. At about 9.30 a.m. on 7 December 2012 Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s car was found in the vicinity of Mayskiy, not far from the motorway. The car’s front side windows were smashed and the front of the vehicle had been damaged.
  4. According to the applicants, in the evening of 6 December 2012 Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov had been stopped about 200 — 300 metres from his house by masked men in military uniforms, who had followed him in three cars. The men had forced him into one of their vehicles and taken him to an unknown destination. The applicants did not witness the abduction.

(b) Subsequent developments

  1. On 20 and 24 December 2012 a local newspaper published an article concerning a meeting held on 17 December 2012 (in the documents submitted the date was also referred to as 20 December 2012) by the President of Ingushetia, Mr Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, and other high-ranking officials with members of the sports club where Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov had worked. Information about the meeting, held in Ingush, was posted on various websites. At the meeting one of the officials stated that Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov had been aiding a member of an illegal armed group, Mr D. The President of Ingushetia reminded them that at his previous meetings with members of the sports community, at which Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov had also been present, he had warned them not to engage in illegal acts. The President also said that he had information concerning phone calls proving Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s involvement in illegal activities. A video recording of the meeting was provided to the investigating authorities (see paragraph 44 below).
  2. The applicants have had no news of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov since his alleged abduction.

 

  1. Information provided by the Government

 

  1. The Government contested neither the applicants’ description of the circumstances of the abduction, nor their account of the subsequent events. However, they stated that the alleged abduction had taken place in the absence of witnesses and that there was no evidence that the perpetrators had been State agents.

 

  1. Official investigation into the abduction

 

  1. In reply to the Court’s request for a copy of the contents of the criminal case file opened in connection with the disappearance, the Government submitted copies of documents running to 1,570 pages. From the documents submitted, the domestic investigation can be summarised as follows.

 

  1. Main investigative steps taken by the authorities

 

  1. On 7 December 2012 the second applicant complained to the Prigorodniy District Investigations Department in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania («the investigations department»), stating that her husband had disappeared while driving home from Ingushetia.
  2. On the same date the investigations department opened criminal case no. 21/1908 into the events under Article 105 of the Criminal Code (murder). The applicants were informed thereof.
  3. On the same day the investigators examined the crime scene. They collected from the scene the hat, the training shoe and the socks.
  4. Also on the same date, 7 December 2012, the investigators examined Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s car, which had been found with smashed windows eighty metres from the Vladikavkaz-Mozdok motorway. They found traces of blood in the car. The investigators collected a number of pieces of evidence, such as a finger print from pack of cigarettes, thirteen swabs of various parts of the vehicle (including the steering wheel and breaks), a number of items of clothing, two bags, a mobile telephone, eight memory cards, pieces of broken glass and a police service identity card certifying that Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov worked as a policeman in Ingushetia. On the same date a forensic expert examination of the evidence was ordered. The applicants were informed thereof.
  5. On 8 December 2012 the second applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case.
  6. On 10 December 2012 the investigators requested that the Prigorodniy District Court grant permission to obtain the list of calls and other connections made from Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s and the second applicant’s mobile telephones between 1 and 7 December and 6 and 7 December 2012. In addition, the investigators requested permission to obtain the list of all mobile connections made in the vicinity of the crime scene (see paragraph 7 above) between 6 and 7 December 2012. On 12 December 2012 the permissions were granted and on 19 and 21 December 2012 the lists were examined.
  7. On 11 December 2012 the investigators requested that the Prigorodniy District Court grant permission to tap for thirty days the mobile telephone of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s aunt, Ms Kh.B., and that of the second applicant, as earlier on the same date the investigators had obtained operational information that the perpetrators would try to call them to discuss payment of ransom for Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov.
  8. On the same date the second applicant requested that the investigators provide her with information on the progress of the investigation and with copies of the case-file documents. On 13 December 2012 the investigators granted the request in part, stating that under national law, prior to the completion of the investigation the applicant was entitled to obtain copies of certain procedural documents but not the entire contents of the case file.
  9. Also on the same date, 11 December 2012, the second applicant requested that the investigators provide her with information concerning the list of connections made to and from Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s mobile telephone from 7 p.m. on 6 December to 11 December 2012 and the information from the CCTV cameras installed at checkpoint «Kizlyar» on the motorway next to Mayskiy between 6 p.m. on 6 December and 3 a.m. on 7 December 2012. On 13 December 2012 her request was rejected, as under domestic law she was not entitled to obtain such information from the case file.
  10. On 13 December 2012 the expert examination of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s police identity card collected from his vehicle (see paragraph 16 above) concluded that the document had been forged. On 28 February 2013 the Ingushetia Ministry of the Interior confirmed to the investigators that the police identity card had been forged and that Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov had not served in the police.
  11. On 17 December 2012 the second applicant requested that the investigators verify the theory that her husband had been abducted by residents of Beslan, North Ossetia-Alania, who on 24 June 2012 had attacked Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s sports team after a tournament held in that town. On the same date the investigators granted the request in full. In particular, they obtained copies of the inquiry carried out into the incident and questioned witnesses to the scuffle.
  12. On 17 December 2012 the investigators examined the eight memory cards collected from Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s car and ordered their forensic expert examination. The applicants were informed thereof.
  13. On the same date the investigators asked the Ministers of the Interior of North Ossetia-Alania, Ingushetia, Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria and the heads of the North Ossetia-Alania, Ingushetia, Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria Departments of the Federal Security Service («the FSB»), as well as other law-enforcement agencies, whether they had any incriminating information concerning Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov and whether they had carried out a special operation in respect of him.
  14. The investigators asked a number of banks whether they had accounts opened in Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s name and if so, details of the transactions on those accounts between the dates of their opening and 17 December 2012.
  15. The investigators also asked a number of hospitals whether Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov was or had been treated on their premises.
  16. On 19 December 2012 the investigators granted the first applicant victim status in the criminal case.
  17. On 20 December 2012 the first applicant requested that the investigators allow nine lawyers from the human rights organisation United Mobile Group («the UMG») to represent her in the criminal case. On 24 December 2012 her request was rejected as the lawyers had failed to enclose their professional identity cards confirming their Bar membership. On 28 January 2013 the refusal was overruled as groundless (see paragraph 48 below).
  18. On 20 December 2012 the first applicant provided her statement concerning the alleged abduction to the UMG lawyers. In particular, she stated that in her opinion, the abduction had been perpetrated by representatives of law-enforcement agencies for unknown reasons. The statement was provided to the investigators on the same date (see the paragraph 75 below).
  19. On the same date, 20 December 2012, one of the UMG lawyers, Mr D.L., requested that the investigators take, amongst others, the following steps:

«…

— to include in the case file the first applicant’s statement given to the UMG on 20 December 2012…

— to ask the motorway Kavkaz and the other traffic police stations between Ingushetia and North Ossetia-Alania whether in the period between 5 and 8 December 2012 three vehicles passed through them: a VAZ-2114 and two Lada- Priora cars and a white Lada-Priora with registration number AH214A 06 with Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov in it;

— to request information from the «Potok» database and the video recording from the traffic police stations and checkpoints between Ingushetia and North Ossetia-Alania as to whether between 5 and 8 December 2012 three vehicles passed through them: a VAZ-2114 and two Lada-Priora cars and a white Lada-Priora with registration number AH214A 06 with Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov in it;

— to request from the mobile phone service providers information on connections between 6 and 7 December 2012… in order to establish the whereabouts of the subscriber of telephone number 99631744448 and his mobile connections from 6 December 2012 up to the present;

Enclosures: copy of the statement of Ms L. Buzurtanova of 20 December 2012…»

On 29 January 2013 the investigators decided to grant the request of 20 December 2012. However, from the documents submitted it appears that the requested steps were taken only in part (see paragraph 68 below).

  1. On 20 December 2012 the investigators received a reply from the Counter Terrorism Centre («the CTC») of North Ossetia-Alania promising to inform them whether they had any incriminating information on Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov and whether they had conducted any special operations against him.
  2. On the same date the investigators examined the premises of the «Ellin» sports club. No evidence was collected from the scene.
  3. On or before 20 December 2012 Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s name was included in the Russian federal database of missing persons.
  4. On 21 December 2012 the investigators requested that the Prigorodniy district department of the interior («the ROVD») inform them which officers had patrolled Mayskiy between 6 and 7 December 2012. The reply with the names of four police officers was given on 14 January 2013.
  5. On 24 December 2012 the investigators requested permission from the Prigorodniy District Court to obtain the list of calls and other connections made in the vicinity of Raduzhnaya Street in Nazran, Ingushetia between 1 a.m. on 6 December and 1 a.m. on 8 December 2012. On 25 December 2012 the permission was granted.
  6. On the same date, the investigators asked the local TV stations to broadcast a general description of the circumstances of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s abduction and to request assistance in establishing his whereabouts and the perpetrators’ identities.
  7. Also on 24 December 2012 the Beslan investigations department informed the investigators that on 24 June 2012 Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov had participated in a fight, as a result of which he had received insignificant bodily injuries, and that he had not given any statements about the incident. On 15 September 2012 the Prigorodniy ROVD had opened a criminal case into the injuries received by eleven sportsmen, including Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov, who had been attacked on 24 June 2012 by a crowd of about fifty to one hundred young men in Beslan.
  8. On 25 December 2012 the investigators forwarded information requests concerning Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s whereabouts, possible detention, hospitalisation and discovery of his body to a number of law-enforcement agencies in the Russian Federation. Replies in the negative were received.
  9. Also on 25 December 2012 the investigators examined video footage obtained from the CCTV camera situated at traffic police checkpoint «Kizlyar» on the motorway next to Mayskiy between 8 a.m. on 5 December and 5 p.m. on 7 December 2012. Neither Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s car nor any other Lada-Priora cars were found on that footage.
  10. On various dates in December 2012 the investigators received replies from the mobile telephone companies, according to which between 2008 and 2012 multiple mobile telephone numbers had been registered in the name of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov.
  11. On 18 January 2013 the head of the operational search unit of the Ministry the Interior of North Ossetia-Alania replied to the investigators’ request (see paragraph 42 above) stating, amongst other things:

«In reply to your request no. 240-21/1908-2012 of 17 December 2012 I inform you that the operational services of North Ossetia-Alania have obtained information that Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov, who was born in 1983, possibly had been aiding members of illegal armed groups acting in Ingushetia, that he had provided financial assistance to them and could have acted as their contact person. According to the information in our possession, Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov could have stored illegal weapons and ammunition in his home.

I inform you also that we are taking a number of operational steps to establish Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s whereabouts and detain persons involved in his disappearance…»

  1. On the same date, 18 January 2013, one of the applicants’ lawyers from the UMG, Mr A.R., requested that the investigators take the following steps:

«…

  1. Include in the case file the video of the meeting of the Ingushetia sportsmen with the President of the Republic, Mr Yunus-Bek Evkurov, concerning the abduction of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov, which took place on 17 December 2012, and order a linguistic examination of the footage in order to obtain its translation into Russian.
  2. Question former colleagues of the abducted man, including the Chief Bailiff of North Ossetia-Alania, Mr M. Ozdoyev, concerning the information provided by him during the meeting of 17 December 2012 and recorded on video.
  3. Question the President of Ingushetia, Mr Yunus-Bek Evkurov, concerning, amongst other things, the incriminating information on Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov which was mentioned by him during the meeting with the sportsmen of Ingushetia. In particular, he stated the following: «There are print-outs of telephone conversations, I have not brought them with me, but people know what I mean anyway and the fellow villagers understand it too».
  4. Request from the Vladikavkaz prosecutor’s office the criminal case file against Mr D., who was mentioned by the Chief Bailiff of North Ossetia-Alania, Mr M. Ozdoyev, by the secretary of the Security Council Mr A. Kotiyev, and by President Evkurov. Those officials spoke of the criminal nature of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s interactions with Mr D. In connection with this, it is necessary to examine the contents of the criminal case file to establish the involvement of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov in the actions of Mr D. and his accomplices…
  5. Inform me about the steps taken…

…Enclosures:

— copy of the authority form

— video footage of the meeting of President of Ingushetia Mr Yunus-Bek Evkurov with representatives of the sports community of Ingushetia on 17 December 2012…»

  1. On 20 January 2013 forensic experts examined the evidence collected from the crime scene (see paragraph 16 above).
  2. On 28 January 2013 the investigators decided to grant the request of 18 January 2013 (see paragraph 44 above). However, from the documents submitted it appears that none of the requested measures was taken.
  3. On the same date, 28 January 2013, one of the applicants’ lawyers from the UMG, Mr A.R., requested that the investigators take the following steps:

«…speak to the Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s neighbours to establish the identity of eyewitnesses to the abduction and question them. (According to the information from a resident of North Ossetia, Mr M.Iz., several neighbours stated that they had witnessed the abduction. This information can be found on the website of Kavakzakiy Uzel: http:Kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/21687/);

…check whether during the same time frame other persons were abducted or detained under similar circumstances… and examine the contents of the relevant criminal case files…»

On the same date the request was rejected by the investigators as the UMG lawyer was not the applicants’ representative in the criminal case.

  1. On 28 January 2013 the head of the investigations department overruled the refusal of 24 December 2012 (see paragraph 47 above) and allowed the nine UMG lawyers to represent the applicants in the criminal case. The applicants were informed thereof.
  2. On 11 March (in the documents submitted the date is also stated as 25 March) 2013 one of the applicants’ lawyers from the UMG, Mr D.U., requested that the investigators proceed as follows:

«…According to Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s wife [the second applicant], he was abducted by unidentified persons driving three cars. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that before the abduction, on the way from the gym to the crime scene, Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov was under surveillance. It is also possible to presume that while driving, the abductors used some kind of device to communicate with each other. If the fact of such connections from the same sources at the time of the incident is established in the areas along Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s route, then it would allow the identification of the persons who used those means of communication. It would also provide grounds to question them about the reasons for their presence at the scene at the material time and why they were taking the same route as Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov.

The taking of such steps would lead to the identification of the persons involved in Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s disappearance.

Therefore, on the basis of Articles 119 and 120 of the Russian Criminal Procedure Code you are requested to:

— establish Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s route on 6 December 2012 from the sports club… to the possible place of his abduction in Mayskiy and the place of the discovery of [his] car;

— locate the main telecommunication towers capable of receiving and issuing mobile phone signals along the above route;

— obtain from the mobile phone companies the lists of all incoming and outgoing connections, including text messages, made with the technical assistance of the above devices between 7.30 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. on 6 December 2012;

— examine the information obtained and establish the mobile service subscribers who were located on the above-mentioned route at the relevant time;

— obtain from the agencies carrying out electronic intelligence in Ingushetia and North Ossetia-Alania information concerning the use of radio devices at the relevant time along the above-mentioned route;

— identify the users of those devices and question them about the case…»

  1. On 21 March 2013 the Prigorodniy central district hospital provided the investigators with a copy of the registration log of urgent calls for medical assistance on 6 and 7 December 2012. Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s name was not indicated therein.
  2. On 25 March 2013 the applicants requested that Mr M. Pliyev, member of the Moscow Bar, be allowed to represent them in the criminal case. On 6 April 2013 the request was granted.
  3. On 28 March 2013 the request of the applicants’ lawyer was granted (see paragraph 48 above). However, from the documents submitted it appears that the requested measures were not taken.
  4. On 2 April 2013 the investigators again questioned the second applicant, who stated that she still had no information concerning her husband’s whereabouts.
  5. According to the applicants, on 4 October 2013 the first applicant told her representative at the Court that someone, whose identity she could not disclose out of fear for that person’s life, had informed her that Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov had been abducted by officers of the Federal Security Service («the FSB») from Ekaterinburg, Russia, and taken to the capital of North Ossetia-Alania, Vladikavkaz, for unknown reasons. It is unclear whether the applicants passed that information on to the official investigation.
  6. According to the applicants, the case-file documents furnished by the Government did not include the list of all the mobile phone communications which had been made in the vicinity of Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s alleged abduction obtained by the investigation on 15 March 2013.

 

  1. Main witness statements taken by the investigation

 

  1. On 7 December 2012 the investigators questioned the second applicant, whose statement concerning her husband’s disappearance was similar to the applicants’ account submitted to the Court. In addition, she stated that her husband had used mobile telephone number 9-963-174-4448 and that he had neither enemies nor unpaid debts.
  2. On the same date, the investigators questioned Mr R.K., who stated that on 6 December 2012 he had been with Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov at the sports club until about 10 p.m. At about 2.30 a.m. on 7 December 2012 the applicants had called him looking for Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov as the latter had not returned home. The witness and Mr I.M. had then assisted the applicants in their search and had gone to the hospitals, morgues and police stations looking for Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov, but without success. The following morning they learnt that Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s car had been found.
  3. On 7 December 2012 the investigators also questioned the husband of the first applicant, Mr I.Ts., who stated that he had accompanied the first applicant in the search for Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov when the latter had not returned home. Driving around Mayskiy, they had found pieces of broken glass along with a training shoe and a sock. The first applicant had immediately identified them as belonging to Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov. They had then immediately gone to the Mayskiy police station.
  4. On the same date, the investigators also questioned a resident of Mayskiy, Ms Z.E., who stated that after 10 p.m. on 6 December 2012 she had been at home when she had heard men shouting outside for about a minute. She had stepped outside and seen two or three vehicles; she had not been able to identify the model or make of the vehicles as it had been dark. The witness thought that it had been a squabble between young men who frequently gathered at the spot to drink alcohol, and returned indoors.
  5. On the same date, the investigators also questioned another resident of Mayskiy, Mr M.E., who stated that he had gone to bed early on 6 December 2012 and had not seen the police examining the crime scene outside his house until the following morning.
  6. On 8 December 2012 Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s mother, Ms Li.B., lodged another complaint concerning the abduction with the investigations department.
  7. On the same date the investigators again questioned the second applicant, whose statement was similar to the one she had given on 7 December 2012 (see paragraph 17 above). In addition, she stated that Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov was a professional sportsperson, that in 2012 he had won the European mixed martial arts championship and that he did not have any enemies.
  8. On 8 December 2012 the investigators also questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s friend, Mr M.M., who stated that he had known Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov since childhood, that they had trained together for fifteen years and that Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov did not have any enemies. In 2011 Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov had participated in a fight with someone, but afterwards the parties to the conflict had settled the issue. The witness stated that he had learnt of the alleged abduction from the applicants and had no idea as to why Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov had disappeared.
  9. The investigators questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s friend, Mr R.K., who stated that he had seen him in the evening of 6 December 2012 in the gym and that he had not witnessed the alleged abduction.
  10. The investigators also questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s sisters, Ms F.B. and Ms Lu.B., both of whom stated that they had not witnessed the alleged abduction but had found out about it from a woman living at the corner of Zhebagiyeva Street, according to whom an abduction had been perpetrated by masked men in black uniforms driving three cars. In addition, Ms Lu.B. stated that another resident of that area, Mr M. Be., had confirmed the woman’s story and had added that one of the abductors’ cars had hit Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s car from the front and another had blocked it at the back.
  11. The investigators also questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s aunt, Ms Kh.B., who stated that she had not witnessed the alleged abduction and that she had no explanation for his disappearance.
  12. The investigators also questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s friend, Mr M.P., a police officer, who stated that at about 11 p.m. on 6 December 2012 he had been driving home when he had seen Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s white car with a dent in the front. The car had skidded and had been driven erratically. The witness had then seen two cars, one of which was a silver-coloured Lada-Priora, following Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s car. All of the vehicles had been heading in the direction of the border with Ingushetia.
  13. On 9 December 2012 the investigators questioned the second applicant’s neighbour, Ms L.G., who stated that at about 10 p.m. on 6 December she had been at home with her husband when they had heard men yelling and then two cars speeding away.
  14. On 9 December 2012 the investigators also questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s mother, Ms Li.B., who stated that she had not witnessed the alleged abduction and had no explanation for her son’s disappearance. On the same date the investigators obtained a blood sample from the witness for a comparative examination with the evidence collected from Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s car and for inclusion in the regional DNA database.
  15. On 12 December 2012 the investigators again questioned the second applicant, who reiterated her previous statements (see paragraphs 17 and 23 above) confirming that she had no explanation for Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s disappearance.
  16. On 15 December 2012 the investigators questioned a police officer from traffic checkpoint no. 5, Mr A.Ts., who stated that he had been on duty at the station between 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. on 6 December 2012 and that he had not seen anything suspicious. He had no information pertaining to the alleged abduction.
  17. On 16 December 2012 the investigators again questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s friend, police officer M.P., who reiterated his previous statement (see paragraph 67 above), adding that he could show the investigators the place where he had seen Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s car on the night of the disappearance. On the same date, in order to verify the statement, the investigators took the witness to the place where he had seen the vehicle.
  18. Between 18 and 23 December 2012 the investigators questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s neighbours, Mr M.E., Mr M. Dzh. and Mr I.D., all of whom stated that on the night of the disappearance they had been asleep at home and, therefore, had no pertinent information about it.
  19. On 19 December 2012 the investigators questioned the first applicant. Her statement was similar to the account submitted before the Court. She also stated that she had no theories concerning the reasons for her brother’s disappearance.
  20. On 20 December 2012 the investigators received the first applicant’s statement concerning the alleged abduction, which she had given to the UMG lawyers (see paragraph 31 above).
  21. On 21 December 2012 the investigators again questioned Ms Z.E. who reiterated her previous statement (see paragraph 59 above), adding that she had not been able to hear in what language the men had been shouting on the night of the alleged abduction.
  22. On 25 December 2012 the investigators again questioned the second applicant, who stated that Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov had never worked in the police, she had never seen him with a police service identity card and that she had no theories concerning the reasons for her husband’s disappearance. At the same time she stated that she had read on the internet that her husband’s disappearance could have been related to the brawl in June 2012.
  23. On 26 December 2012 the investigators questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s cousin Mr U.B., who stated that he had not witnessed the alleged abduction, had no information about it or theories concerning the possible perpetrators’ identities.
  24. On various dates between December 2012 and February 2013 the investigators questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s acquaintances, colleagues and neighbours: Mr I.T., Mr A.E., Mr I.A., Mr A.G., Mr A.Ga., Mr Kh.Ts., Mr M.Ts., Mr V.Dzh., Mr R.Ts., Mr M.I., Mr B.Ts., Mr R.D., Mr M.B., Mr Ta.E., Mr I.Im., Ms N.K., Ms N.Ke., Ms T.K, Mr Z.K., Mr P.Kv. and Mr G.Ts. They stated that they had not witnessed the alleged abduction, had no information about it or any theories concerning the possible perpetrators’ identities.
  25. On various dates between January and April 2013 the investigators questioned Mr Akhmed Buzurtanov’s relatives, neighbours and former colleagues Mr Is.B., Mr Ab.B., Ms Z.E., Ms G.P., Mr R.Kh., Mr M.Ko., Mr B.E., Mr R.P. and Mr M.Kh. Their statements concerning the alleged abduction were similar to the applicants’ account submitted before the Court. They also stated that they did not have any theories concerning the possible perpetrators’ identities.
  26. From the documents submitted it appears that the proceedings are still ongoing.

 

  1. Relevant domestic law

 

  1. For a summary of the relevant domestic law (see Turluyeva v. Russia, no. 63638/09, §§ 56 — 64, 20 June 2013).

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