Torture in security service of Ukraine: new round of scandal

Пытки в СБУ: новый виток скандала

Nicholas Vakaruk

The scandal with the existence of “secret prisons” and torture in security Service of Ukraine is gaining momentum.

The scandal with the existence in Ukraine of secret prisons where tortures are dragged on for several months.

The special mission of the Committee on torture of the UN in July was forced to leave Ukraine after it was not allowed in offices of the security Service of Ukraine.

Advocates argue that recently, the “secret prison” of the security Service of Ukraine in Kharkov was liberated 13 people.

SBU denies the existence of any “secret prisons” and torture.

Корреспондент.net collected information about the scandal of torture in Ukraine.

What say human rights activists

The report of human rights defenders Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published on August 29, says that of the “secret prison” of the security Service of Ukraine in Kharkov, released 13 people.

The release occurred after July 21, defenders published a report “You don’t exist: Arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and torture in Eastern Ukraine”, which States that the Ukrainian government and the separatists tortured and illegally detained people in custody.

Before the report, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch met with chief military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios and gave him a list of 16 people who are in the “secret prisons” in Kharkov.

The report States that six people were released on July 25, seven people, including one woman, on 2 August. 12 of those released were on the list, which the defenders gave the Matios.

Human rights defenders managed to talk with five of released. Three of them – Nicholas Vakaruk, Victor ashikhin and Dmitry Korolev stated that they intend to seek justice. Two wished to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals against them and their families.

Asain disappeared from her home in Ukrainsk 7 December 2014. According to him, it was three times transferred to different places to hide from outside observers.

Vakaruk also lived in Ukrainian, in prison, he got 9 December 2014. According to him, in October 2015, he became ill and had to be hospitalized. He was taken to a hospital in Kharkiv, where he was booked under a fake name. While he was in the hospital, was handcuffed to the bed and was guarded by the officer of the SBU.

Vakaruk, and ashikin was released on July 25. The guards gave them passports and 50-200 UAH “transport costs”. Men claim that they had been warned to keep quiet about their imprisonment and threatened serious consequences if they tell the public.

Human rights activists claim that the “secret prisons” of the SBU at the moment are at least five more people. Two of them are Russian citizens, two Ukrainians living in Kharkov. The fifth person supposedly suffers from mental illness.

The reaction of the SBU

SBU will verify the information of human rights activists about possible violations of human rights, but deny the existence of any “secret prisons”, said the chief of staff of the head of the SBU Sergey Tkachuk.

“We are very attentive to information that is collected by human rights organizations, and closely related to the formation of the violation of human rights. We will check this information,” – said Tkachuk.

He urged all to treat the loud statements.

“I talked with the head of the regional Department in Kharkiv and the fact that there seems to contain some people. This is false information”, – says the representative of the security services.

According to him, in Kharkov there is a division, sector of providing a pretrial investigation where investigators are working with the detainees who are held in detention.

“There are no conditions for keeping of people, so it’s impossible… the Chairman of the SBU the Hrytsak has already given order, if such information is confirmed, we will react, we have their own and others, the perpetrators will be held accountable,” – said Tkachuk.

Be allowed everywhere

Tkachuk noted that during the visit of the representatives of the UN Subcommittee on prevention of torture, SBU ready to provide them access to detention centres to eliminate all the problems.

The delegation of the UN Subcommittee on prevention of torture will resume its work in Ukraine, 5-9 September.

The Subcommittee decided to return to Ukraine after assurances from the government.

Who else can hold

As human rights activists say, in a secret prison, which is located in the detention center of the security Service of Ukraine in Kharkov still held two citizens of Russia. One of them is Vladimir Bezobrazov, who was arrested in Odessa in may 2014.

In the report of human rights activists refer to the words of mother Bezobrazov Lyudmila Korobova. According to her, in the Odessa region Bezobrazov was just resting and then one day, sitting in a cafe, in an interview expressed support for Pro-Russian separatists, for which he was detained by representatives of the border service of Ukraine.

Later, the Ukrainian court sentenced Bezobrazov to three years of probation under article “encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine”.

Probation Bezobrazov was because he cooperated with investigators and gave a confession. As they say in Amnesty International, after Bezobrazov left the courthouse, he was kidnapped.

“On March 6, 2015, the court gave a suspended sentence. It was released in the courtroom. When he left the courtroom, there approached a small bus, and people in masks took Vladimir“, said Krasimir Yankov, Amnesty International’s researcher in Ukraine in interview to the Russian TV channel “Rain”.

In October 2015, Vladimir himself called his mom and told her that the exchange will no longer, may she go and knock on the DNR that it was included in the exchange lists.

The DNR mother Bezobrazov said, “We can’t do anything to help you, your son is nothing to us did. We are trying primarily to get people who fought for us or supported us in another way, and your son to us – no one.“

Torture for the sake of sharing?

One of the released from the secret prison of the SBU in Kharkiv — a Ukrainian citizen Mykola Vakaruk in an interview with “Rain” told how he was torture and threats, including when the detainees heard the screams from the other cells.

According to him, he was threatened by a bullying wife. Vakarchuk said that the SBU was forced to write a testimony under dictation, and then say them on camera.

“How would that I’m a spotter, well dictated, I wrote. I passed on the information about the movement of Ukrainian troops, that I have provocations. Nast was called the exchange material, the guards in SBU”, – says Vakaruk.