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12.12.2001 | Ludmila Klochko, Kharkov

The demand for literature on torture is growing

   

It seems that the publication of the Kharkov Group for human rights protection "Against torture" became a bestseller among state officials. The USS was the first to react. Representatives of this agency came to the Kharkov Group several days after the parliamentary hearings on torture and asked to give them 30 copies of the book for distributing to all USS oblast directorates. Later we had the honor to be visited by representatives of Kharkov military garrison, who also took a copy. This morning an officer from the Kharkov Institute of tank troops came to the Group office and asked: "Is "Protocols of rapes" published by your organization. It rumors that something is written there about our institute?". We agreed the "Protocols of rapes" would be a more interesting reading, but we disappointed the visitor: "We published the book "Against torture", which actually contains the material about the events in the Kharkov Institute of tank troops". The officer was not taken back, but laboriously leafed through the book and stopped at the part "Against torture. Review of complaints". Yes, he agreed, he needed namely this book, his commander was informed about it from Kyiv. Besides, the visitor’s tongue slipped and he told that the commander reckoned that something in the book was written incorrectly.

We got the impression that all, or most, personages of our book got the order to "refute the untrue information". It should be noted that the book "Against torture" was issued in two volumes. The first volume contains the legal documents ratified by Ukraine on the problem of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment and punishment; the second volume deals with the concrete cases of torture described in mass media. Why then the personages got interested in these facts just now? If one suggests that they decided to fight with torture, it will be more logical to read the first volume, in which the international normative acts are presented. Why the facts that had been already published and then did not cause any reaction got everybody intrigued? A similar story happened with Vladimir Giliarovskiy, a Russian journalist and writer of the 19th century, who decided to collect his sketches on the life of tramps that were published in newspapers into the book "People of the slums". The book was prohibited by censors.

There is progress in our life! In the beginning of the 21st century our book was published, whereas in the beginning of the 20th century it could be banned.

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