by Abakar Abdulvakhidovich ABAKAROV
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 15 January 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Sverre Erik Jebens,
George Nicolaou, judges,
and Søren Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 12 July 2004,
Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together.
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Abakar Abdulvakhidovich Abakarov, is a Russian national of the Avar ethnic origin who was born in 1977 and previously resided in the village of Gvedysh, the Tlyaratinskiy District of the Republic of Dagestan. He is currently serving a sentence of imprisonment in the village of Slavyanovka, the Bagratinovskiy District of the Kaliningrad Region.
The respondent Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr P. Laptev and Ms V. Milinchuk, former Representatives of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 26 November 2003 the Chernyahovskiy Town Court of the Kaliningrad Region convicted the applicant of robbery and sentenced him to twelve years’ imprisonment.
The conviction was based on crime scene inspection record, records of seizure and identification parade, witness testimonies, and expert reports.
One prosecution witness was afraid to testify in the applicant’s presence and asked the court to take the applicant out. The witness admitted that she had never received any specific threats, but insisted on the absence of visual contact out of fear of retaliation by the applicant’s relatives. The court ordered the applicant to leave the court room. Once the witness had testified, the applicant returned to the court room, read the testimony, and argued with it. It is not clear whether the applicant’s lawyer remained in the courtroom during this episode.
It appears that during the trial the court rejected the applicant’s request to summon a defence witness with reference to the applicant’s failure to demonstrate the relevance of this witness. The applicant did not indicate any specific reasons as to why this particular witness was relevant to the proper determination of his case in his application to the Court.
From the case file it follows that the applicant was repeatedly offered to be provided with the interpreter’s assistance during the proceedings. The applicant turned down all of these offers.
During the trial, the applicant asked the court to adjourn the proceedings because he was ill and could not participate. But the court continued the proceedings nevertheless. It does not appear that the applicant raised this point on appeal.
Upon the applicant’s appeal, the Kaliningrad Regional Court reduced the sentence to nine years and six months and upheld the rest of the judgment on 6 April 2004. The court fully endorsed the first instance court’s decision to remove the applicant from the court room during the testimony of the prosecution witness who had been afraid to give evidence. The court noted that there had been a good reason for such a decision and that the applicant’s rights had not been breached as he had been given an opportunity to contest the evidence given by that witness.
The applicant complained under Article 6 of the Convention about various shortcomings in the criminal proceedings against him.
On 30 November 2007 the President of the Court communicated the application to the respondent Government under Rule 54 § 2 (c) of the Rules of Court. The Government submitted their observations on the admissibility and merits of the case on 24 March 2008.
By letter of 27 March 2008 the applicant was requested to submit, by 28 May 2008, his comments on the Government’s observations.
In view of the absence of the applicant’s reply, by letter of 23 September 2008, sent by registered mail, the applicant’s attention was drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention which provided that the Court could strike the case out of its list of cases where the circumstances led to the conclusion that an applicant did not intend to pursue the application.
The Court notes that, despite the Court’s letters of 27 March and 23 September 2008, the applicant has not submitted his observations in reply to those of the Government. Nor has he made any other submissions to the Court.
Against this background, the Court considers that the applicant has lost interest in pursuing the application. The Court finds no reasons concerning the respect for Human Rights warranting the further examination of the case. In view of the above, it is appropriate to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and to strike the case out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis