14 Feb ECHR Decides Important Police Brutality Case
Though the news is a couple of weeks old, it’s worth calling attention to a unanimous decision by the European Court of Human Rights Court that the Russian Federation violated the European Convention on Human Rights by allowing local police to torture a Russian citizen, Aleksey Mikheyev, and by subsequently failing to adequately investigate his allegations of mistreatment. The court awarded Mikheyev €250,000 ($304,000) in compensation.
Mikheyev v. Russia is one of the most extreme cases in the short history of post-Soviet policing. On
On September 19, Mikheyev decided he could take no more. Left by himself for a moment, he broke free from the chair he was tied to and threw himself out of his cell window. He landed on a police motorcycle and broke his back, rendering him a paraplegic. Soon afterwards, the “murdered” girl turned up unharmed and said she had been staying with friends.
Three years later, in 2005, two policemen who had participated in the questioning of the applicant on
The Court vindicated Mikheyev on all counts. To begin with, the Court concluded that
The Court also held that the deliberate ineffectiveness of
Finally – and of critical importance to future cases – the Court dismissed Russia’s claim that Mikheyev’s failure to wait for the formal completion of its investigation barred him from bringing his case to the Court.
One can only hope that the ECHR’s decision will help deter future police and governmental misconduct in
Incidents of torture and ill-treatment in prisons and detention centres throughout the
as well as poor conditions there continue to be reported on a regular basis. Impunity remained the norm for serious human rights abuses in the context of the Chechen conflict, where authorities are implicated in the torture, abduction, secret detention and “disappearances” of civilians… Measures against human rights violations are seldom taken and as a rule police and army act within a climate of impunity… The Russian Federation is the only member state of the Council of Europe that still does not allow for the full publication of reports of the Council of Europe’s Committee against Torture. Russian Federation