Russia urged to investigate disappearance of Ingushetian teacher

Amnesty International has called on Russia to effectively investigate the fate of an Ingushetian teacher missing since 2003 after the European Court of Human Rights found the country’s authorities responsible for his disappearance in the territory.The Court ruled on 1 April that the Russian state was to blame for the enforced disappearance and possible death of Bashir Mutsolgov, following a six-year fight for justice by his family.”The Court’s decision means some justice has been done – they have recognized that Russia is responsible for the disappearance of Bashir Mutsolgov and that the continuous failure to conduct an effective investigation amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment of the family,” said Nicola Duckworth, Senior Director at Amnesty International.”The Russian authorities now need to take the next step – to bring to justice those who abducted Bashir Mutsolgov” Bashir Mutsolgov was speaking to one of his pupils in the small town of Karabulak on 18 December 2003 when several men emerged from a car, hit the boy with their assault rifles and dragged Bashir Mutsolgov into the car. He has been missing ever since.His brother, Magomed Mutsolgov, undertook a determined search for information about Bashir’s whereabouts. He found he was not the only one whose relative had disappeared without trace.Bashir’s friend, Timur Yandiev, disappeared in March 2004, as did the deputy prosecutor of Ingushetia, Rashid Ozdoev, whose family believe he was disappeared because he had uncovered human rights violations committed by the Federal Security Service of Ingushetia.Magomed Mutsolgov set up his own human rights organization, Mashr (Peace), and over the last six years has collected information about 179 cases of abduction and enforced disappearance which have occurred since 2002. The human rights work has led to him being threatened, along with others who sought his help. In 2008 he was shot at and one of his colleagues, Zurab Tsechoev, was abducted and ill-treated. No one has been brought to justice for this attack, nor for the enforced disappearances of Bashir Mutsolgov and many others in Ingushetia. These include Timur Yandiev, Rashid Ozdoev and other cases that Magomed Mutsolgov has taken up, as well as more recent disappearances, such as that of Ibragim Gazdiev in 2007.”We have followed these cases of enforced disappearance for six years now, the relatives of those disappeared have never stopped looking for their sons and brothers and have appealed tirelessly to the Russian authorities to investigate these cases,” Nicola Duckworth, Senior Director at Amnesty International.”It is time for Russia to commit to its obligation to investigate these human rights violations properly. In addition, the Russian authorities should sign and ratify the UN Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances. We also take the opportunity to call on Russia to respect and protect human rights defenders and to investigate attacks against them.”Ingushetia is a republic of 500,000 people in the Russian Federation, situated between Chechnya and North Ossetia.