Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group

Jump from the fourth floor.


One of the greatest successes of the Kirovograd militia in their struggle with narcotics turned into tragedy. In the end of February all newspapers of the oblast center informed (referring to the Center of public relations of the oblast militia directorate) that the officers of the department for fighting the illegal circulation of narcotic drugs find the greatest during the recent ten years party of poppy straw, which was stored in one of the town garage cooperatives. Two local dwellers were detained by the suspicion of the storage of narcotics. Several days later, on 21 February, one of the two detained jumped out from the window of the fourth floor of the district militia precinct. It happened during his meeting with an advocate. The editorial board of the newspaper „UTs“ tried to learn why it had happened and what would be the consequences.

In what follows we quote the story told by Ludmila Sosna, the present (the third) advocate of the suspected, who began to defend him after this tragic jump.

„This is an unprecedented case in all world advocate practice“, told L. Sosna, „because of the unknown reasons the suspected jumped out from the window during the talk with his advocate! The question appears: who was this advocate and according to which contract he worked? If the contract exists, then who concluded it? These are questions for the disciplinary chamber of advocates… I signed the contract officially on 20 February in the office. I tried to learn where my client was and next day I find him… in the intense care ward of the oblast hospital in a plaster cast with two fractures of spine. I want to quote the complaint of my client to the General Prosecutor’s office: „I suffered in the hands of sadists… They promised to throw me in the cell, where other convicts would rape me… On 20 February the advocate came, but I was very scared and told nothing about the torture, I refused to testify at all… When the advocate went away, they tortured me again, and after this they said: „Now take off your pants for connecting the electric current to your genitals“. This threat crushed my obstinacy... I was ready to sign anything“.

I state officially: the investigation department situated on the second floor cannot be entered by a common citizen and even an advocate. Many people under investigation (not only my clients) more than once told that especially cruel torture is applied here, such as gas masks with closed valve or hanging on the elbow joints of the handcuffed arms. Yet, I never heard before about the torture with electric current by clipping the wire to the ears with metallic clothes-pegs with sharp jags. I have the conclusion of the forensic expertise done by my request. The expertise reads about the presence of the wounds, which could be caused by such sharp jags and which were inflicted during the period, when my client stayed inside the precinct.

But let us return to 21 February. On this day the second advocate came to my client. I will quote the complaint again: „… the man, who had been nicely conversing with the detectives, told me that he was a former investigating officer and now – an advocate… I understood that it was the end of my life, since he said that he had been working in this precinct, so I had to sign the confession in an amicable way at once… I thought that my mother would never learn what torture I endured here“. All this was happening in the office of the investigator, when the investigator was absent. Now this investigating officer is suspended from duty. And I am sure that he is an honest man. Yet, let us continue to read the complaint: „… the advocate told that I had to agree to be his client and to refuse the services of my previous advocate. Being afraid of the threats and being absolutely helpless I decided to commit suicide…“ These words were written by the 26-year-old man, unmarried, having no criminal records, who had served in marines.

Kirovograd is my native town and it hurts me that this tragedy happened here.“

L. Sosna sent two complaints to the General Prosecutor’s office and to the oblast prosecutor. The reason for sending the second complaint, of 26 February, was that, in the opinion of the advocate, the protection of the case materials for preserving the secrecy of the investigation was not provided, and the measures for safety of the suspected, who had the real grounds to be afraid for his life, were not taken in accordance with Article 521 of the CPC of Ukraine. The same complaint contains the doubts about the authenticity of some documents, dates and facts described in the documents. Thus, L. Sosna believes that the check must be conducted not by the oblast law-enforcing organs, but by the investigating commission of the General Prosecutor’s office. „Besides“, she reckons, „the real danger to my life has already appeared. Some strangers phoned to me and threatened to beat or murder me“.

The editorial board of „Ukraine-Center“ asked representatives of the oblast militia directorate to comment the situation. Vladimir Filshtein, a deputy of the head of the directorate, informed: „Immediately after the event the service investigation was started. Head of the directorate general S. Nikitenko categorically put the question about the punishment of the guilty and their dismissal from law-enforcing organs. The administrative measures will be taken. We must do this because of the fact that the meeting of the suspected with the advocate was hold outside the cell, and this created the opportunity fro the suicide. We have no special rooms in the town precinct, but this does not relieve our officers of responsibility“. „What was the presumptive guilt of the suspected?“ „The case was started about the storage of narcotic drugs, only storage, even not trade. The party of the narcotics was very great – 132 kilograms of poppy straw, by the conclusion of experts.“ „The press wrote that there were many strange moments in this case.“ „Yes, it is so. For instance the situation with advocates. There was one advocate, then another. And the suspected jumped from the window in the presence of this second advocate.“ „What made him to jump?“ „There may be many motives and versions. For example, the fear of the responsibility, the fear of the accomplices, violence on the side of militia.“ „Yet, mass media inform that there were not mere „measures of physical influence, but real torture by electric current.“ „We issued the decision about conducting the forensic expertise. The results were negative, although there actually were some signs on the ears. Yet, it should be untimely to draw some conclusions about the origin of these signs, since there were many injuries and wounds got by the suspected when he broke the window. Physicians and prosecutor officers will consider this question“.

Naturally, the editorial board of „Ukraine-Center“ turned to Yuri Danilchenko, the prosecutor of the Kirovograd oblast asking to give his comments. In response we obtained the statement of the press center of the oblast prosecutor’s office. In particular, it reads: „The suspected jumped from the window being afraid not of the punishment, as mass media wrote, but being afraid of the torture applied to him by militiamen. The prosecutor’s office of the Kirovskiy district of Kirovograd conducted the check of this fact. As a result, the criminal case against the militiamen was not opened because of absence of corpus delicti. The oblast prosecutor’s office checked the legality of the taken decision, and the refusal to open the criminal case was cancelled, since some new circumstances were disclosed that must be additionally checked. Now the prosecutor’s office conducts the additional inspection, in particular concerning the escape attempted by the suspected. After this the decision will be taken according to the demands of Law.“

What more can be said? The death of the suspected might be the event that cut off all threads needed for the continuation of the investigation. Who was the interested party?

The newspaper „Ukraine-Center“, No. 10, 7 March 2003

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