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18.02.2008 | Yevhen Zakharov

Unlawful violence yet again in the penal system

   

On 6 February we reported that a spetsnaz [special forces] unit had apparently once again been deployed in Penal Colony No. 46 in the village of Katerynivka in the Rivne region.  According to information received, 16 prisoners had been brutally beaten. http://www.khpg.org.ua/en/index.php?id=1202343209  In the last few days we have been informed that the conflict has been settled in the colony and that “the prisoners have come to an agreement with the Head”. Supposedly there was no spetsnaz and no beatings.

Today, 18 February, a similar report came, this time from penal colony No. 26 at Zhovti vody in the Dnipropetrovsk region. Seemingly, on Saturday evening, 16 February, the Head of the Colony together with some investigative officers visited the SHIZO [punishment cell], after which during that night 20 prisoners from the SHIZO “cut themselves”, with one so badly hurt that he was transferred to the normal hospital in Zhovti Vody.

Penal staff claim that such actions by prisoners are demonstrative acts, often unmotivated, and sometimes aimed against the administration to force them to certain actions. However, it remains as ever impossible to even check the level of self-inflicted injury since the system is closed to independent observers.  Until the system becomes more open to scrutiny, such allegations and concern about unlawful violence in penal institutions must inevitably continue.

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