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22 Jan 2013

Memorial HRC (Russia)

In Golyanovo Slavery Case, No News Is Bad News

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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...