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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Widow Awarded $87,000

STRASBOURG, France -- The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday blamed the Russian government for the disappearance and presumed killing of a Chechen man during a military sweep in Grozny in 2000.

The court ruled that Russia failed to investigate the incident properly and awarded the man's widow 52,000 euros ($69,400) in damages and almost 13,000 euros ($17,400) in court costs.

It was the court's fourth ruling in nine months against Russia in cases concerning hostilities in Chechnya.

Shakhid Baysayev disappeared on March 2, 2000, on his way to work near Grozny. Government forces conducted a sweep in the area that day to identify members of illegal armed groups.

Several months later, Baysayev's widow was sold a videotape by an unknown man showing Baysayev lying on the ground and being kicked by a soldier before being taken away. She was also given a sketched map purportedly showing where her husband was buried, and later found a piece of cloth at the burial site resembling his coat.

The investigation into Baysayev's abduction was adjourned and reopened more than a dozen times by authorities, but no one was charged with the crime and the perpetrator was never identified, the court said.

n Also on Thursday, the Strasbourg court ruled that Moscow city authorities had infringed on the rights of the Church of Scientology by repeatedly refusing to register it as a religious organization.

The church operated in Moscow legally from 1994 to 1997, when a change in the law required all religious groups to register anew. Those that failed to do so faced the threat of dissolution by a court order.

The Moscow Justice Department has rejected the Scientologists' application 11 times, each time on different grounds. As a result, the church was "restricted in exercising the full range of its religious activities," the court said.

The court found that city authorities were biased and did not act in good faith, and awarded the church 10,000 euros ($13,400) in damages and 15,000 euros ($20,000) in court expenses.