22.12.2003 | Ruslan Ugrinchuk, Ivano-Frankivsk
The newspaper «Zakhidny kuryer», No. 39, 18 September 2003

Incident in Yaremcha


On 7 September Yuri Yurchenko, the prosecutor of the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, received the appeal from Yuri Romaniuk, a deputy of the oblast council from the Kolomiya election district No. 18. The deputy asked to initiate the prosecutor’s check «of the fact of cynical and brutal beating of three inhabitants of Kolomiya by the officers of Yaremcha militia department during the detention and convoying, as well as the violation of human rights and freedoms during the preliminary incarceration and the violation of the procedural norms during interrogations».

Besides, the deputy asked to check the observance of the procedural norms by the investigating officer of the Ivano-Frankivsk railway militia (we do not want to mention the name of the officer for the obvious reasons), who was in charge of this case, from the viewpoint of the objectivity and legality of the investigation and from the viewpoint of the observance of anti-corruption laws by this officer.

Copies of the appeals were directed to Mykhaylo Vyshyvaniuk, the head of the oblast state administration, Vasyl Brus, the head of the oblast council, and Bogdan Kernitskiy, the head of the oblast militia directorate.

So, what happened? We will try to restore the events on the basis of the deputy’s appeal and the explanations of the victims (who are the accused at the same time).

The incident happened in the local train Rakhiv – Kolomiya. On 27 August 2003 at about 9 p.m. three boys and two girls got on the train. The young people were returning from the holiday. At the station they bought one bottle of beer for each. In the train the youths whiled away the time playing cards. After some time several passengers from the adjacent compartment began to bother them. The aggressors were drunk and disliked the fact that the youths were speaking Russian. The boys tried to ignore the provocations, but one of the drunk passengers grabbed one of the boys, P., and stroke the boy’s head against the wooden seat-back. P.’s nose began to bleed. In order to defend himself P. punched the attacker. Other passengers came to the rescue of the aggressor, since he was a local dweller. The youths did not want to continue the incident, so they took their knapsacks and rushed out of the train at the nearest station Mikulichin. Yet, the attackers ran after them to the platform and proceeded with the fight.

A women, who observed this excess, began to cry: «Stop to beat the children, you will murder them!» At that moment the youths again took their knapsacks and jumped into the train. When they, beaten black and blue, arrived at the station Yaremcha, 5-6 militiamen from the local precinct were already waiting for them.

So, it seemed that the problems should be over now, since the law-enforcers arrived. Yet, nothing of the kind happened! The militia officers threw the boys from the carriage to the platform, handcuffed and searched them. P. asked one of the girls to give him a bottle of cologne: he wanted to wash and disinfect his wounds. One of the militiamen snatched the bottle away rudely, flung it to a garbage can and hit the victim with the baton. The boys wrote in their explanations that all militiamen beat them with batons, fists and feet, while they stayed at the platform.

In spite of the obvious signs of beating (bruises, bleeding, etc.) the doctor-on-duty did not compile the act of medical examination. The test of the level of alcohol in the blood of the boys also was not conducted, and later it was stated that they were in the middle stage of alcohol intoxication. After the hospital the detained were transported to the Yaremcha town militia precinct. Here, according to the information given by Yuri Romaniuk, the sufferings continued. P. was kicked into the cell. The law-enforcers tried to force him to sign some document, but did not permit to familiarize with the contents of this document. P. refused to sign the document and was beaten again.

Detained B. had sandals on his bare feet. By his words, a militiaman purposely trod on his toes trying to hurt him as much as possible. Detained Z. was tortured too. The officer-on-duty did not want to write down the evidence of the victim, and dictated his own version with the obvious accusatory implication. The officer blamed the detained for smoking marijuana. The so-called interrogation was accompanied by beating.

From 8 a.m. to noon the detained were not let to the lavatory, all their requests were ignored, their honor and dignity were humiliated.

On the next day the boys were taken to Ivano-Frankivsk, where they signed the explanations written after the version of the investigating officer. The investigator disregarded all remarks and protests of the victims. On the contrary, he threatened that, if the boys would not sign the proposed text, they would undergo the torture even worse than in Yaremcha. The boys were intimidated and exhausted, they did not understand already the consequences of signing the falsified protocol and explanations…

The investigating officer of the Ivano-Frankivsk railway militia started a criminal case against the youths. Moreover, the explanation handed to the prosecutor reads that 2000 USD are openly demanded from one of the victims for closing the case.

Thus, in the opinion of deputy Yuri Romaniuk, there are all grounds for instituting a criminal case against the officers of Yaremcha militia precinct, who were on duty at night of 27 August.

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