The Presidium of the Russian Supreme Court today over turned the guilty verdict of Timur Tangiyev, who was convicted and sentenced by the Supreme Courtof Chechnya to 22 years in prison, Russian Justice Initiative and its partner organization, Astreya, reported today. Upon examination of the question of whether or not to reconsider the guilty verdict, the Presidium decided to send the applicant's case back for re-examination by a new formation of the Supreme Court of Chechnya, citing various violations of Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Presidium was seized of the matter of reconsidering the applicant's guilty verdict following the European Court's judgment in Tangiyev v Russia, which became final on 29 April 2013. The applicant was represented at the ECtHR by the organizations Russian Justice Initaitive and Astreya.
Timur Tangiyev was detained on 11 April 2003. Immediately after hisarrest he was severely beaten and had cigarette butts extinguished on his body.Subsequently he was brought to the Operational Search Bureau No. 2 (ORB-2) in Grozny, he was subject to routine beatings, including with rubber batons, and torture by electric shock. As a result of the torture Timur confessed to having carried out a series of violent crimes, including murder of public officials and their affiliates in Chechnya. Timur's complaints of torture were not investigated by the authorities.
The ECtHR found Russia responsible for a violation of Article 3 of the Convention – the prohibition against torture – in relation to Tangiyev, both due to the treatment he was subjected to, and to the lack of investigation by the Russian authorities into his complaints of torture while in custody. The applicant's complaints were not investigated despite evidence of ill-treatment, such as the findings of medical examinations carried out in the Grozny IVS, which established the presence of bodily injuries suffered by the applicant.
The ECHR also found that the national courts’ decision to allow evidence produced under torture at the applicant’s trial rendered the criminal proceedings against him unfair, leading to a violation of Article 6(1) of the European Convention. As of the present time, Timur has served ten years of his sentence and remains in prison.
Although a finding by the European Court of a violation of the Convention is a formal ground for the reconsideration of a case at the domestic level, the decision of how to remedy the violations is left, in practice, to the discretion of the Russian authorities, including the Russian Federal Supreme Court. In this particular case, the Presidium of the Supreme Court clearly shared the opinion of the European Court regarding the inadmissibility of evidence obtained under torture, rightly deciding to send Timur's case for re-examination by the Supreme Court of Chechnya, which must proceed without examining any evidence obtained under torture. During the hearing at the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor upheld the arguments of the Chairman of the Supreme Court and of the applicants’ lawyers concerning the need to re-examine the case.
During the hearing before the Russian Supreme Court, the interests of the applicant were represented by lawyers Grigor Avetisyan from the organization “Astreya,” and Valery Shukhardin from the organization “Civic Assistance Committee.”