Spetsnaz strikes again?
The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group has received information that on 18 March, a spetsnaz [special forces] unit of around 10 men in masks and full fighting gear was deployed in penal institution No. 55 in the Zaporizhya region.
According to the information received, they severely beat prisoners in the SHIZO [punishment isolation unit] and PKT [cell-like units, also a form of punishment], as well as prisoners serving life sentences. They allegedly kicked the prisoners, beat them with their fists and with rubber batons, hung them from an exercise bar, and some had their heads thrust into the toilet. Our informant asserts that some of the prisoners had water poured on them after the beating to bring them around. It is alleged that the spetsnaz men beat even prisoner Stryukov who has tuberculosis and was brought from the medical unit. Three people are said to have suffered particular: Viktor Sadovnykov and Yevhen Brusensky who were in the SHIZO and Ruslan Artamonov who was in the PKT.
It is also asserted that information about the beating has gone beyond the penal colony and that Zaporizhyan journalists have tried to visit the colony to meet the prisoners, but have been refused entry.
We are unable to verify this information and have therefore appealed to the Human Rights Ombudsperson and the Prosecutor General to investigate the situation.