29.08.2006 | Volodymyr Berezin

No such thing as a former cop


Over the last two years working as coordinator for the Donetsk region on the program «Against torture and ill-treatment»  I have constantly wondered just how deeply the need has become entrenched in law enforcement officers to torment and torture people.

Encountering numerous complaints from victims, trying to get to the reasons for all forms of detentions, interrogations, with some leaving people cripples, or on occasion costing them their lives, I have become more and more convinced that such activities must inevitably leave a mark on the individuals in uniform. Beating out somebody’s kidneys, breaking noses, ribs, placing bags over people’s heads, connecting electrodes to a person’s body, and so forth, these guys must change inside. It simply goes deeper in some, and is more on the surface in others. With regard to this point, I would give a highly symptomatic example which took place in Konstantinivka.

It all began when I decided to meet with one of the candidates for the city leaders in Konstantinivka during the 2004 elections. Having discovered that he had previously served in the police force and had a law education, I wanted to sound him out about the possibility of his working within the program. Having arranged a meeting, at the time set I met a man of around 40, medium build with regular facial features. The no-nonsense candidate (a successful businessman) listened carefully to my suggestion. The latter revolved around creating within his taskforce a public reception centre on problems involving the violation of human rights. I particularly emphasised possible help for people who had suffered from the activities of the police. I thought that he might «bite» at this point sensing the additional votes this could win him. So you can imagine my surprise when the former police captain, who’d left the force after being wounded, suddenly interrupted me abruptly and bellowed «Huh, those bastards went flying around my office! They need their heads scraped against the walls during interrogations!» That was the end of our contact. I had nothing more to say to him.

That individual whose physiognomy was pasted over roads into the city and fences was fairly successful at the elections, coming a respectable third out of the 13 contenders in the «election race». Then I lost sight of him.

However in July of this year, 2006, an incident took place in the city which is still being discussed and which left many in a state of shock. On one fine morning the rumour sped around Konstantinivka that some vandals had beaten a girl until she was unrecognizable and thrown her from the balcony of an eighth-floor flat. And the surname of that same candidate and ex-cop was named. I got interested, and meeting with the prosecutor was able to find out all the details. It turned out that this «wounded» individual, with a perfectly happy family, had spent the night together with a friend in a casino, and had appeared in the morning at the home of a twenty-three-year woman he knew supposedly «to rest». Later they were joined by her 19-year-old friend. That was the beginning of the real horror. The former candidate suddenly discovered that his gas pistol had disappeared. Having told his partner to close the door to the flat, he bound the girls and started to give them the whole works in torture. The woman who lived in the flat was able to break free and use the balcony to escape to her neighbours.  The men continued torturing the other girl. And then (and this was seen by numerous witnesses) they dragged her onto the balcony, and despite her pleas for mercy, literally threw her over the balcony.

She was killed on impact.

The Prosecutor says that the girl had been totally beaten (they had specially removed a table leg to use) and even her finger nails had been ripped out.

The scum are now facing the full range of charges – murder, committed by a group with particular cruelty. However seemingly the former (and are any of them former?) cop is trying the «not in his right mind» line, and may get a milder sentence.

Yes, and I completely forgot – they found the pistol in the taxi that the two used to get to that ill-fated place.

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