Project aimed at preventing police torture


People who have been subjected to physical or psychological coercion by law enforcement officers will now be able to receive legal aid within a joint programme being run by the European Commission and civic organizations.  The project will run in four regions in West Ukraine.

Within the framework of this 18-month project on preventing torture in police stations in the Transcarpathian, Lviv, Rivne and Chernivtsi regions, there will be centres for documenting torture which victims can turn to, as well as a help line.

In order to monitor the situation, there will be mobile groups of lawyers who will periodically carry out spot checks of district police stations. As the director of the project Andriy Hnyda explains, police officers most often infringe a detained person’s right to call their relatives, their right to a lawyer and to a medical examination.

According to the head of the Lviv Centre for Documenting Torture, Oleh Ilnytsky, “People don’t only complain of beatings, but of infringements of criminal investigation procedure, the rules for dealing with juveniles and those with psychological disorders”. Over four months of pilot work, the centre has received around fifty complaints. One appeal has already been sent to the UN Committee against Torture.  Mr Ilnytsky adds, however, that people do not always dare to complain out of fear of police retaliation.

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