MOSCOW, July 2 (RIA Novosti) - The European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia on Thursday pay 39,757 euros in compensation to a Chechen woman whose husband went missing in 2001.
Zina Pukhigova, 65, said her husband was seized by armed men in uniforms who she believed to be Russian soldiers in February 2001, and that she had not seen him since. She also said Russian authorities failed to properly investigate the case.
"The Court found that the applicant had presented a coherent and convincing picture of her husband's abduction, which had been supported by witness statements," the Strasbourg court said in a news release.
Pukhigova said other villagers, who were detained on the same night but later released, said that her husband had been held at the military commander's office of the Urus-Martan district.
Russian authorities said years after the abduction that law enforcement agencies were not involved in Salman Abdulazizov's disappearance, and that the inquiry was continuing, the news release said.
The court said that since Russia had failed to provide the case files in its possession, citing secrecy, and plausible explanations for the events, it considered Abdulazizov to have been abducted by servicemen in an "unacknowledged security operation."
"In his absence or of any news about him for eight years... the Court concluded that the Government had been responsible for his death," the news release said, adding that the right to life, the prohibition of inhuman treatment, and the rights to liberty and legal protection had been violated.
The ruling can be appealed against through the Court's Grand Chamber within three months from the date of the ruling.
Russia has lost the majority of cases brought against it in the Strasbourg-based court. In 2008, the court ruled against Russia 245 times. Overall, around 20% of all complaints made to the court in the past decade have involved Russia.
Chechnya saw two brutal separatist wars in the 1990s and early 2000s. Security has improved in the North Caucasus republic, although militant attacks take place occasionally.