1. The case originated in an application (No. 38003/03) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") by two Russian nationals, Mr Rizvan Said-Khasanovich Rasayev and Mrs Raisa Abdulayevna Chankayeva ("the applicants"), on 14 October 2003.
2. The applicants, who had been granted legal aid, were represented by lawyers of the Stichting Russian Justice Initiative ("SRJI"), an NGO based in the Netherlands with a representative office in Russia. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr P. Laptev, former Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
3. On 1 September 2005 the President of the Chamber decided to apply Rule 41 of the Rules of Court and to grant priority treatment to the application.
4. On 7 June 2006 the Court decided to give notice of the application to the Government. It also decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility (Article 29 § 3 of the Convention).