Produkty grocery store lawsuit (re modern slavery in Russia)

Grocery store_PhotoCredit_Anna Artemyeva_Novaya GazetaC русской версией описания этого дела можно ознакомиться здесь.

In 2009, Fatima Musabaeva from Kazakhstan filed a criminal complaint against the owners of the grocery store chain “Produkty”, belonging to the Istanbekovs family, in the Galyanovo district of Moscow.  She claimed to have been forced to work under slavery-like conditions from 2007 until she managed to escape two years later.  Fatima alleged multiple severe abuses including forced labour, deprivation of liberty, passport confiscation and beatings.  She also claimed being forced to work 22-hours shifts without pay or proper breaks and to have lived in inhumane and degrading conditions.  However, a police officer refused to open an investigation and contacted the store owners who forcefully took Fatima back into the store.

In 2010, Fatima managed to escape for the second time and sought assistance from the International Organization for Migration in Moscow.  The organization’s lawyers helped Fatima to file another criminal complaint against her employers Zhanar Istanbekova and Rashid Musabekov.  However, the investigator refused to open a criminal case.  Her lawyers appealed this decision and the investigating officer reopened the case but later closed it without accusatory charges.

On 30 October 2012, a group of activists and journalists released 11 people from the back rooms of the store, owned by the Istanbekovs.  Victims, from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, allegedly spent up to 10 years under slavery-like conditions.  They claimed that they had been subjected to restriction of movement, torture, beatings and rape.  On 4 November, the investigator opened a criminal case on suspicion of illegal deprivation of liberty of two or more persons against Zhansulu Istanbekova and Saken Muzdybaev.  However, the prosecutor’s office did not grant its approval and sent the case back for further investigation.  The case was sent back and forth between the investigation unit and the prosecutor’s office for three years.  The victims and their lawyers were not allowed access to any of the case materials until summer 2015.  On 3 June 2015, the investigator declined to file criminal charges.  The victims’ lawyers appealed but without success.

On 25 November 2016, lawyers from several NGOs filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Fatima and three other women.  The complaint alleges violation of the prohibition of torture, discrimination, slavery and forced labour, as well as violation of the right to respect private and family life and to an effective remedy.

In December 2016, another store employee sought assistance from the anti-slavery NGO Alternativa.  She claimed she had been subjected to similar abuses as the other victims.  The NGO helped her file a criminal complaint against one of the store owners Zhansulu Istanbekova.  Two other NGOs intend to file a civil lawsuit against the store on behalf of the victim over unpaid wages.

Zhansulu Istanbekova and her family currently own several grocery stores in Moscow, where similar abuses allegedly take place.

- "Golyanovo Slaves" Case Reached Strasbourg", Julia Orlova, Memorial HRC, 27 Dec 2016
- "Internal Investigations Division (IID) found offences on the part of policemen in "Golyanovo case", Civic Assistance Committee, 4 Apr 2013
- "Court sessions on Golyanovo case were postponed for the third time", Civic Assistance Committee, 16 Feb 2013
- "Attempt to Deport the Golyanovo Slaves Fails", Memorial HRC, 12 Nov 2012

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Author: Динара Бекболаева, Ratel (Казахстан)

...23 января, в социальной сети...появилась видеозапись...21-летнего Жанибек Каныбека, где он...рассказывает о своем двухлетнем пребывании в трудовом рабстве в Москве...Толчком к этому послужило интервью другой жертвы трудового рабства - Несибели Ибрагимовой...История, которую поведала девушка, до мельчайших деталей похожа на истории, рассказанные жертвами трудового рабства, в 2012 году освобожденных в одном из продуктовых магазинов, находящемся также в районе Гольяново...В 2013 году в ДВД ЮКО [Департамент Внутренних Дел Южно-Казахстанской обл.] возбудили уголовное дело, но вскоре его пришлось закрыть.  Российские правоохранительные органы не пошли навстречу казахстанским коллегам и преследовать по закону хозяев злополучного магазина не стали.  Зато рабовладельцы, по информации правозащитников центра «Сана сезiм», успели сменить имена и фамилии.  Резонансное дело «гольяновских рабов» до недавнего времени считалось закрытым.  Но теперь в этой истории появились новые жертвы, среди которых - Несибели Ибрагимова и Жанибек Каныбек...[Н]овыми фактами трудового рабства в Москве сейчас занимается МВД РК [Республики Казахстан].  В интересах следствия подробности дела не разглашаются...

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Author: Елена Срапян, Гражданское Содействие (Россия)

Гражданка Казахстана Несибели Ибрагимова 5 декабря убежала из магазина «Продукты», принадлежащего Жансулу Истанбековой.  В конце декабря девушка обратилась за помощью в Комитет «Гражданское содействие»...Восемь месяцев Несибели насильно удерживали в магазине и постоянно избивали...27 декабря она подала заявление в дежурную часть ГУ МВД по г. Москве.  Комитет «Гражданское содействие» совместно с ПЦ «Мемориал» будут оказывать юридическую помощь пострадавшей.  «Мы будем добиваться возбуждения судопроизводства по факту нанесения телесных повреждений, – пояснила адвокат Гульнара Бободжанова, – В ближайшее время я свяжусь с дежурной частью и узнаю судьбу заявления, которое подавала Несибели. Также мы планируем подать исковое заявление о взыскании заработной платы за все время ее работы в магазине».  Жалоба Насибели также может прибавиться к заявлениям других жертв в Европейском суде по правам человека...Владельцы магазинов так и не привлечены к уголовной ответственности в России...В Казахстане, в отличие от России, уголовное дело было возбуждено...Жанар Истанбекова изменила паспортные данные и стала Омаровой Сауле Инкаровной.  Возможно, так она пыталась избежать уголовного преследования в России.

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27 December 2016

“Golyanovo Slaves” Case Reached Strasbourg

Author: Julia Orlova, Memorial HRC (Russia)

On November 25, 2016 lawyers...filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in regards with the case of “Golyanovo slaves”.  The applicants are sisters Fatima Musabaeva and Aliya Musabaeva from Kazakhstan and two citizens of Uzbekistan, Gulzhanar Nazanova and Bakiya Kasimova.  At different times between years 2004 and 2007 they worked in shops located in “Golyanovo” Moscow District...[T]heir documents were taken away.  They worked from early morning till late at night, often without any lunch or sleep breaks.  They were not allowed to leave the shop premises.  For any little “mistake”...they were beaten up.  All four women were raped in the shop...When inspections came, all “slaves” were hidden in the warehouse or given someone else’s documents.  The shops’ owners were never prosecuted in Russia...In their complaint to ECHR the lawyers claim that the “Golyanovo slaves” had their rights violated under several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights: Article 3 (Prohibition of torture), Article 4 (Prohibition of slavery and forced labour), Article 8 (Right to respect for private and family life), Article 13 (Right to an effective remedy) and Article 14 (Prohibition of discrimination)...

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Author: Юлия Орлова, ПЦ Мемориал (Россия)

25 ноября 2016 года юристы проекта «Мемориал»/EHRAC при сотрудничестве эксперта Комитета «Гражданское содействие» подали в Европейский суд по правам человека (ЕСПЧ) жалобу по делу «гольяновских рабов».  Заявительницы...в разное время в период с 2004 до 2007...работали в магазинах московского района Гольяново...После приезда в Москву у женщин забирали документы.  Они работали с раннего утра до поздней ночи...За пределы магазинов им выходить не разрешали...За любую «провинность»...их избивали...Когда в магазины приходила проверка, всех «рабов» прятали на складе или давали им чужие документы...Хозяева магазинов так и не привлечены к уголовной ответственности в России...В жалобе в ЕСПЧ юристы утверждают, что в отношении «гольяновских рабынь» нарушены статьи 3 (запрет пыток), 4 (запрет рабства и принудительного труда), 8 (право на уважение частной и семейной жизни), 13 (право на эффективное средство правовой защиты) и 14 (запрет дискриминации) Конвенции о защите прав человека и основных свобод...30 октября 2012 года группа активистов и журналистов...посетили магазин и сняли на видео условия работы там...4 ноября было открыто уголовное дело...Однако...прокуратура отменила решение следователя и отправила материал на дорасследование...3 июня 2015 года следователь в очередной раз отказал в возбуждении уголовного дела...Обжалование этого решения результата не принесло...

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Author: Маргарита Алехина, РБК (Россия)

...Жалоба в Страсбургский суд подана от имени гражданок Казахстана сестер Фатимы и Алии Мусабеевых и Гульжанар Назановой и Бакии Касымовой из Узбекистана.  История «гольяновских рабов» стала широко известна в октябре 2012 года, когда активисты вызволили 11 человек из подвала магазина на Новосибирской улице.  Позднее таких же невольных рабочих обнаружили в других магазинах на соседних улицах.  Все торговые точки принадлежали одной семье...Как отмечается в жалобе, женщин держали в рабстве...В магазинах они прожили от пяти до десяти лет, все это время женщины были вынуждены бесплатно трудиться в течение почти 21 часа каждый день под угрозой насилия, в том числе сексуального.  ​Покидать подсобные помещения работницам не разрешалось...Уроженок Казахстана и Узбекистана лишали пищи и сна...Вскоре после обнаружения «гольяновских рабов» было возбуждено уголовное дело, однако...соответствующее постановление отменили...[C]ледствие и прокуратура многократно отказывались вновь возбуждать дело, ссылаясь на «отсутствие состава преступления».  При этом власти знали о происходящем как минимум с 2002 года, когда за истязания работников магазина была осуждена сестра Истанбековой.  Как отмечается в жалобе, в 2008 году жители Гольянова жаловались в районную управу на различные нарушения в магазине...Таким образом женщины были лишены эффективных средств правовой защиты...

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Article
16 February 2013

Internal Investigations Division (IID) found offences on the part of policemen in “Golyanovo case”

Author: Civic Assistance Committee (Russia)

Head department of IID, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Russia proved offences on the part of policemen towards former employees of Prodykty store who were living in slavery.  In particular, the institution’s official letter received by Civic Assistance Committee read: “In the course of checking information on non-admission of response action on the case were partially acknowledged”.  The document informs...that guilty policemen were brought to disciplinary responsibility by the order of the chief of Department of Internal Affairs, Eastern District, Moscow.  The letter also says that materials of check-up were sent to Preobrazhenskiy investigation department for making a decision on opening a criminal case.  For Golyanovo case this is an important achievement.  For many months lawyers...were confronted only with refusal of opening criminal cases and inactivity of interrogator Damir Samerkhanov on complaints of former employees of Prodykty store...At the same time in Shymkent (Kazakhstan) eight criminal cases were opened against them on complaints of former sellers... Also on the complaint of the store employee a criminal case was opened in Uzbekistan under Article “Human Trafficking”...

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Article
22 January 2013

In Golyanovo Slavery Case, No News Is Bad News

Author: Memorial HRC (Russia)

Victims of and their lawyers submitted 15,000 signatures to the Investigative Committee headquarters...to demand the state resumes investigation into the slavery case in the Moscow suburban district of Golyanovo.  They accuse their former employees, Zhansulu Istanbekova and Saken Muzdybaev, of holding them in custody for up to ten years.  They say they were forced to work in a grocery shop...without being paid anything.  Their passports were withheld.  The victims say they and their children were often severely beaten.  The criminal investigation was opened into the case in early November 2012.  Shortly after...the Prosecutor’s Office decided to close the case saying the investigators did not collect enough evidence to suggest any crime had taken place...[T]he authorities failed to investigate the allegations of slavery, or “illegal use of labour”...[T]hey concentrated on one aspect of the case only, that of deprivation of freedom.  The allegations of beating and abductions also went unnoticed...With that in mind, the victims...filed official complaints requesting the court to examine the “lack of action” on part of the investigative committee...

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Article
12 November 2012

Attempt to Deport the Golyanovo Slaves Fails

Author: Memorial HRC (Russia)

On November 8, 2012 Damir Samerhanov, investigator of Moscow’s Preobrazhenskoe Division, summoned for questioning the migrants who were freed...from having been held...by the owners of a grocery store in the Moscow suburb of Golyanovo...Upon the young women’s arrival in company of the attorneys...the investigator...announced that the applicants should proceed to the Golianovo police department where they will be charged with the administrative violation “Illegal stay in the Russian Federation”...[A]s the applicants are recognized as victims in a criminal case under the Article “Unlawful deprivation of liberty”...they did not have a real opportunity to inform migration services of their stay in the Russian Federation nor leave its territory in due time,” said the lawyer... Gulnara Bobodzhanova submitted request demanding that her clients be recognized as victims in the case.  She plans to make a formal complaint against the investigator based on his actions....The attorneys are demanding to re-qualify the case to...“Use of slave labour with aggravated circumstances of utilizing black mail and violence”...Shop owners Istanbekova and Muzdybaev were questioned by an investigator and released.  According to civil society activists, the owners are exerting pressure on their former workers and are trying to destroy evidence...

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Article
6 November 2012

Svetlana Ganushkina: The Investigation Must be Conducted in Accordance with the Law

Author: HRO.org (Russia)

On 2 November 2012, the news agency...held a press conference on the release of the Kazakh and Uzbek nationals who were enslaved for many years by the...owners of the Produkti shop in Moscow's Golyanovo district...The victims' account revealed details of the many years they spent in virtual slave labour in a basement shop on the outskirts of Moscow...The lawyers list the serious aspects of the offences committed against their clients: the use of slave labour..., unlawful imprisonment..., intentional infliction of moderate bodily harm..., kidnapping of a person..., threat of murder and murder...Meanwhile...many serious questions remain to be asked of the Golyanovo Department itself.  The use of slave labour in its district went unnoticed by police officers for a period of ten years...“The fact that people were held in slavery for ten years...represents a breakdown of the law enforcement system, which not only failed to prevent a series of serious crimes, but also condoned them”, said Svetlana Gannushkina, Chairperson of Civic Assistance and board member of the Human Rights Centre Memorial...

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