Rendition of Alleged Islamist Will Cost Russia

     (CN) – Russia demonstrated a “flagrant disregard for the rule of law” by secreting an accused Islamist radical to Tajikistan, where he would likely face torture, the European Court of Human Rights ruled.
     Savriddin Dzhurayev, 28, fled to Moscow in June 2006 after the government of his native Tajikistan cracked down those who followed the teacher of a certain mosque.
     Tajikistan brought criminal charges against Dzhurayev later that year, claiming he joined the “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan” and was involved in a Sept. 27, 2006, attack on three members of the regional parliament.
     Three years later, Russia arrested him pursuant to an international search warrant, and he remained in custody pending extradition until May 20, 2011, when the court released him on the personal guarantee of his lawyer.
     Around this time, Russia’s Federal Migration Service granted Dzhurayev temporary asylum.
     On Oct. 31, 2011, unidentified men driving a minivan stopped him and his friend on the streets of Moscow.
     “The applicant and his friend got out of the car and tried to escape,” the judgment states. “They were followed by three or four unidentified men who shot twice. The applicant’s friend managed to escape, while the applicant was stopped, beaten up with a truncheon and forced into the mini-van by the same men, who did not identify themselves. The applicant was kept in the mini-van for a night and a day. The individuals who had apprehended him subjected him to torture and ill-treatment. They beat him up, put a gun to his head and threatened to kill him unless he agreed to return to his home country. The applicant showed them the temporary asylum certificate delivered by the FMS, but they just laughed at him in response. The person who put questions to the applicant was of Tajik origin.
     “In the evening of the following day the applicant was taken by his kidnappers directly to the airfield of Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, without going through the usual border and customs formalities and security checks. The applicant was handed over to a Tajik patrol, who forced him into a nearby aircraft without presenting a ticket or any travel documents.”
     The European Court of Human Rights found that this abduction was similar to so-called “extraordinary renditions.”
     “While the operational procedures here at issue differed in many respects from those of so-called ‘extraordinary renditions’ examined in some recent cases, the court’s findings convincingly show that the operation involving state agents in the present case was likewise conducted ‘outside the normal legal system’ and, ‘by its deliberate circumvention of due process, is anathema to the rule of law and the values protected by the [European] Convention,'” the judgment states.
     Dzhurayev’s father told the court that his son was pressured into a false confession.
     Despite repeated requests by Dzhurayev’s lawyer, Russia refused to investigate the abduction on four separate occasions.
     The court found Dzhurayev’s “detailed, specific and consistent” account of his abduction more credible than Russia’s “summary and evasive” denials.
     Its seven-judge panel ruled Russia in violation of a prohibition against inhuman and degrading treatment, right of individual petition and two protections against arbitrary detention.
     The 76-page judgment, written by Moroccan jurist Isabelle Berro Lefevre, notes this is a continuing human rights issue for Russia.
     “The findings of the present judgment support the view that the repeated abductions of individuals and their ensuing transfer to the countries of destination by deliberate circumvention of due process – notably in breach of the interim measures indicated by the court – amount to a flagrant disregard for the rule of law and suggest that certain state authorities have developed a practice in breach of their obligations under the Russian law and the Convention,” the judgment states. “Such a situation has the most serious implications for the Russian domestic legal order, the effectiveness of the Convention system and the authority of the court.”
     Russia must pay roughly $47,000 to Dzhurayev, who is serving a 26-year sentence in Tajikistan after his conviction last year.
     In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, the White House is reportedly considering greater cooperation with Moscow on counterterrorism operations, over the concerns of human rights advocates. Last week, NATO and Russia announced a jointly development explosive-detecting technology that will be tested in June, Stars and Stripes reported.
     About 1,800 miles southeast of Moscow, Tajikistan sits atop Afghanistan and its population is roughly 90 percent Muslim. It is considered the poorest country in the former Soviet sphere, according to the CIA World Factbook.

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