Letter of Andrey Ishchenko
I, Andrey A. Ishchenko, a coordinator of the Odessa group of the Ukrainian Association ‘Amnesty International, arrived in Kyiv on 9 March 2001 about 9 a.m. with the purpose to lay flowers at the Monument of Taras Shevchenko on the anniversary of his birthday. At 17:40 hours, after the official ceremonies, meeting and manifestation, I appeared near a block of flats at 6 Dimitrova St., where the office of the Ukrainian Conservative Republican Party is placed. In about 5-10 minutes I saw a host of uniformed men with the labels of the crack militia unit ‘Berkut. They attacked the participants of the manifestation ‘Ukraine without Kuchma, who were standing peacefully at about 30-40 meters from me, and began to beat them with rubber clubs, sticks, hands and feet. Other militiamen in the ‘Berkut and in uniforms moved towards me. People near me panicked. I managed to run into the UCRP office and hid in the farthest room with some other people. On the outer side of the door ‘Berkut was fighting: I heard cries and moans, people begged militiamen not to beat them on the head, etc. Then I opened a little window, with great efforts bent the window bars, squeezed though the hole and appeared in the inner guard. There I found a line of ‘Berkut servicemen, who were descending down the yard, some of them with service dogs. I hurried to one door and began to go upstairs. On one landing I rang to a flat and asked to help me. I asked to let me in, since I was followed by gangsters in militia uniform, who beat and maimed people. The flat owner shut the door to my face. I continued to walk upstairs, until I got to the attic and then to the roof of the house. Having regained my breath, I set down and waited – there was nowhere to run. Soon a plain-clothed man appeared on the roof. Having shown no documents, he twisted my arms and lay me on the roof face down, after this he struck me several times with his fist on the back of my head. I came to my senses in several seconds, when I attacker summoned help on the walky-talky. After this he passed me to four servicemen from ‘Berkut. On the attic they searched me and then beat me. The blows were directed on my head, back and legs; they beat me with their clubs and boots. Several times a got up and again fell down senseless. After this, on the staircase they passed me to other three ‘Berkut men, who beat me several times on the head with some metallic object. The beating was done in the elevator; I was sitting on the floor and one of them was beating me from above. We went out to the yard, they pushed me on the ground and searched me thoroughly. They took all my money, valuables and documents: my Ukrainian passport, service ID, 70 USD, pager ‘HEK-26 (operator /0482/ 66-00-01, subscriber 99-99), a bunch of keys, documents, metro tokens, a tube of shoe polish (of German make) and other personal things.
When I was lying on the ground among other bodies I got some other blows with a rubber club on my head and back. That happened when I moved. Later I, together with other detained, was brought to the Dniprovskiy district precinct of Kyiv, where they took what remained after other searches: a golden cross, a wrist watch and Hr 12.
No protocols on my detainment and arrest were compiled and signed by me. No receipt was given about the confiscated things. I was not tried by any Ukrainian court either.
In the precinct my photo was taken by a photo and video cameras, my fingerprints were taken. I also wrote an explanation, in which I demanded to call a motor ambulance for me. After this an motor ambulance came and took me, accompanied by militiamen, to the hospital of urgent aid (3 Bratislavskaya St., Kyiv). I was placed to the toxic ward, which is permanently guarded by militia. I handcuffed to my bad post. Doctors found cerebral concussion, bruises of soft tissues on the occiput, haematomas on my head and bruises on my back and legs. From 9 to 13 March I was staying in the toxic ward under round-the-clock guard. Nobody explained to me the reasons of my detainment and arrest, I do not know these reasons even now. Only late in the evening of 13 March the ombudsperson Nina Karpacheva managed to squeeze into our ward. She told me that I was free to go. But my detainment was prolonged by one day by the militia even after my transfer from room No. 212 of the toxic ward to room No. 14 of the neuro-surgical ward No. 2.
In the Dneprovskiy precinct they returned to me a part of the confiscated things. Yet, until now they have not returned to me several things: 70 USD, the pager, keys and others.
I regard the actions against me personally as a crime, in the result of which I was illegally detained, then arrested with the brutal violation of all proper procedures. I demand to start a criminal case against officers, who persecute me for my civil position and political convictions, who detained me illegally and kept me five days in captivity. They beat me brutally, bruised me and tortured me. The misuses their power and robbed me. I demand them to return my things and money that were illegally confiscated.
I declare that on 9 March 2001 in Kyiv during the action ‘Ukraine without Kuchma I did not participate in anything illegal or conflict situations, did not call to violence to any law abuses.
20 March 2001