Archive for January, 2010

This morning MIGS released a press release regarding the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) finding the Republic of Cyprus guilty on multiple counts, in the case of Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia for failing to protect Oxana Rantseva, a Russian national who fell to her death in March 2001 under mysterious circumstances. (Read ECHR Press Release here and full judgement here)

The following is an excerpt from MIGS’s press release:

..if the objective of Cyprus Government’s is to combat human trafficking effectively, and trafficking in women in particular, the state must stop issuing visas to individuals – citizens of third countries – under any visa regime to work in establishments considered high risk for trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Two months ago over 110 (men & women) EU citizens were trafficked into Cyprus and exploited for cheap labour related to construction work. Human trafficking is the exploitation of the vulnerable. Human trafficking is not interested what passport it’s victim is holding nor is it interested in the victims gender. Human trafficking and exploitation can stem from any work establishment.


Read Full Post »

Following Article from Cyprus-Mail (08/01/2010)

ECHR: Cyprus failed to protect Russian dancer who fell to her death

CYPRUS has been found guilty by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) of failing on multiple accounts to protect 20-year-old Russian dancer Oxana Rantseva, who fell to her death in March 2001 while trying to escape from a fifth-floor Limassol flat owned by a cabaret-owner’s employee. “The failures of the police authorities were multiple,” said the ECHR ruling, published yesterday. The ECHR said the circumstances under which Rantseva had fled the cabaret in which she worked, and had gone to the police in the first place, had been such as to give rise to a credible suspicion that she might have been trafficked. “In the Court’s opinion, there were sufficient indicators available to the police authorities, against the general backdrop of trafficking issues in Cyprus, for them to have been aware of circumstances giving rise to a credible suspicion that Ms Rantseva was, or was at real and immediate risk of being, a victim of trafficking or exploitation,” it added. “However, in the present case, it appears that the police did not even question Ms Rantseva when she arrived at the police station. No statement was taken from her. The police made no further inquiries into the background facts. They simply checked whether Ms Rantseva’s name was on a list of persons wanted by the police and, on finding that it was not, called her employer and asked him to return and collect her.” Hours later she was dead. Rantseva arrived in Cyprus on March 5, 2001 on a temporary visa, having been tricked by a “recruiter” into coming to work in Cyprus as a translator. She found herself employed at Zigos Cabaret in Limassol. A week later she fled the flat she shared with other young women working at the cabaret, leaving behind a note that read: “I’m tired. I’m leaving for Russia.” The cabaret-owner, who was well-known locally, informed the Immigration Office in Limassol that Rantseva had abandoned her place of work and residence. On March 28 – nine days later – she was spotted in the early hours at a local disco by another cabaret artiste, who tipped off Rantseva’s employer. The cabaret-owner, accompanied by a security guard from the cabaret, picked up the young woman and took her to the police. Officers then contacted the duty passport officer at his home and asked him to look into whether Rantseva was in Cyprus illegally. After investigating, he told them that her name was not in the database of wanted persons, but also that there was no record of the cabaret-owner’s complaint and that, in any case, a person did not become illegal until 15 days after a complaint was made. The passport officer contacted Aliens and Immigration, who gave instructions that Rantseva was not to be detained and that her employer, who was responsible for her, was to pick her up and take her to their Limassol Office for further investigation at 7.00am that day. The police officers contacted the cabaret-owner to ask him to collect Rantseva, saying that their instructions were that if he did not take her they were to allow her to leave. The station duty officer released her into the custody of her employer, who was told to come back with her the next day to clear the issue up with immigration. She was taken to a fifth-floor apartment belonging to another of the cabaret-owner’s employees at around 6.00am and locked in. At 6.30am Rantseva was found dead on the street below the apartment. It is thought she slipped and fell while trying to escape from a window. A first-floor neighbour told police that he was smoking on his balcony. “I saw something resembling a shadow fall from above and pass directly in front of me. Immediately afterwards I heard a noise like something was breaking … I told my wife to call the police … I had heard nothing before the fall and immediately afterwards I did not hear any voices. She did not scream during the fall. She just fell as if she were unconscious.” After undergoing an autopsy in Cyprus, Rantseva’s body was transferred to Russia in April 2001, and a second autopsy was carried out, resulting in alleged inconsistencies in the forensic evidence. The ECHR ruling said there were “a number of elements of the Cyprus investigation which were unsatisfactory”. Investigators appeared not to have taken steps to resolve the “conflicting testimony from those present in the apartment” from which Rantseva fell, or other “anomalies” such as the alleged inconsistencies in forensic evidence, or the fact Rantseva made no noise as she fell from the balcony. Also, “despite the lack of clarity surrounding the circumstances of her death, no effort was made by the Cypriot police to question those who lived with Rantseva or worked with her in the cabaret. Further no attempt was made to establish why she was trying to escape or to clarify whether she had been detained in the apartment against her will.” “The authorities were under an obligation to investigate whether there was any indication of corruption within the police force in respect of the events leading to Ms Rantseva’s death,” the Court said in reference to past allegations of corruption in the Cyprus police force. It also said regarding the alleged inconsistencies in the forensic evidence, the Cypriot forensic examiner who had carried out the autopsy had responded that his own conclusions were sufficient and that no supplementary information was required. The ECHR ruling followed a complaint lodged by Rantseva’s father, Nikolai Mikhailovich Rantsev, on 26 May 2004. Cyprus must now pay Rantsev €40,000 in damages and €3,150 for costs and expenses, plus any tax he may have to pay on these amounts. Russia – which was the subject of the complaint jointly with Cyprus – was also found guilty of not carrying out its procedural obligations to investigate the allegation that Rantseva was the victim of sexual trafficking, and was ordered to pay €2,000 in damages.

Previous article

2008 interview with Rantseva’s father, Nikolai Mikhailovich Rantsev

Read Full Post »