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Slain Russian Teens' Mothers Turn To European Court

The Putin era has been rife with unsolved, high-profile killings.
The Putin era has been rife with unsolved, high-profile killings.
Reuters reports that the mothers of two Russian teenagers they say were raped and murdered by men with links to authorities have filed appeals with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Legal advisers say the attention of the France-based court underscores Russia's inability to solve such crimes at home and they are hoping it will encourage others to come forward in a country where rights groups say many such crimes go unpunished.

Lawyers for beauty queen Svetlana Karamova, 17, say she was gang-raped by police who snatched her in broad daylight before dumping her body with a burst liver and broken ribs near her home in Bashkortostan, some 1,160 kilometers east of Moscow....

Gulnara, the mother of Lena Aleksandrova, 15, who lawyers say was raped and killed by a relative of a senior official, said her case has also been registered though the court could not confirm that on September 25.

Olga Karamova conceded it was a remote chance for the crime to be recognized and justice served, and feared that eyewitnesses are too scared to speak out.

Mother Aleksandrova "uprooted her family to another city after she received threats she blames on local authorities following pleas to prosecutors to examine her case," Reuters added, and "said she has lost all faith in the Russian justice system."

"Real hope that something will be solved has already vanished," Aleksandrova said. "Of course I want to believe, but...there is no way people in our country will let it happen."

The mothers scoffed at pledges by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to increase openness in society and reduce lawlessness.

(by Andy Heil)