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11.06.2008

No sign of mass beating of prisoners in Colony No. 100

   

Representatives of human rights organizations have found no sign of mass beatings of prisoners in the Temnivska Penal Colony No. 100 which is in the Kharkiv region.

Head of the Board of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union and KHPG legal expert Arkady Bushchenko and bar lawyer Iryna Yakovets visited the colony on 10 June, following a press statement from the Vinnytsa Human Rights Group and some other reports which the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group received.  The penal staff initially refused to let them speak to the prisoners, despite the appropriate appeal from KHPG, however after a phone call to the Head of the Head of the Kharkiv region division of the State Department for the Execution of Sentences, permission was given.

On 9 June the Vinnytsa Human Rights Group reported that they had learned of torture applied to five named prisoners at the Colony.

According to Arkady Bushchenko, they were able to speak with four of these prisoners alone. None of them said anything about events on 7 June, or about having their arms and legs bound in wet towels causing acute pain when the towels dried (this being one of the forms of torture mentioned in the VHG report). All of the complaints they heard were of an individual nature and there was no mention of mass beatings or mass use of torture.

Not all of the prisoners wanted to speak to them. Arkady Bushchenko says that they looked frightened which suggests that they didn’t want any unpleasantness from the colony administration, but stresses that one cannot make any absolute conclusions as to why they refused.

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