KHPG lawyer refused access to prisoners


The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group has issued a press release regarding obstructions put it its way when trying to investigate allegations of force used against prisoners.

On 13 October KHPG received news that force had been unlawfully applied against several prisoners in the Temnivska Penal Colony No. 100 after they were placed in a disciplinary isolation unit. Among the prisoners named were some who had previously made complaints against the actions of the colony administration, and they linked the use of force against them with these complaints.

On 14 October lawyer Arkady Bushchenko tried to see a number of the prisoners in order to check the information received. The Head of the Colony was given a letter from KHPG which asked, on the basis of Article 110 § 3 of the Criminal Procedure Code, for the lawyer to be allowed to meet with the prisoners.

However the Head of the Colony refused to allow a meeting. In a letter dated 23 October, he gave reasons for his refusal including the following: “there were no written applications from the prisoners to be given legal aid”, the people mentioned in the letter are mainly serving a disciplinary punishment in a disciplinary cells [DIZO-PCT]; “one person … is employed on the production zone of the institution, and meetings for working prisoners are allowed in non-working time”.

Arkady Bushchenko went again to the Colony on 28 October at 15.30 with a similar letter asking for a meeting with the prisoners. He was once again refused.

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group expresses its concern over the fate and well-being of the prisoners mentioned in the information we received.

Over several months until 14 October, Arkady Bushchenko was able without obstruction to meet with  prisoners on the basis of Article 110 § 3 of the Criminal Procedure Code, this enabling him to check information reaching KHPG from various sources, and where necessary provide legal aid.

Given the nature of the information received, the fact that some of the prisoners named a while ago made complaints to the prosecutor’s office about the administration’s behaviour, as well as the abrupt change in the position of the management of the colony with regard to providing the lawyer with access to the prisoners, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group has good grounds for assuming that the information received is in keeping with the facts, that a number of prisoners were indeed subjected to unlawful use of force and that the management is taking measures to ensure that the marks indicating ill-treatment disappear and that those responsible for the ill-treatment remain unpunished.

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