Another hitch in the Pomilyaiko case


In another setback to attempts to try police officers over alleged torture of two women in order to force confessions from them, the Ordzhonikidze District Court in Kharkiv has again revoked the decision to initiate a criminal investigation against three officers. This is the third decision of a district court in favour of the suspects. It is now for the Court of Appeal to decide.
Given two reports very different from each other, one suggesting that Svitlana Pomilyaiko’s lawyer has given up the case, it seems wise to await further developments. It is, unfortunately, very common for difficulties to arise in even getting a criminal investigation started. As reported here, there was a press conference on this case just a month ago, attended by one of the two victims, Svitlana Pomilyaiko, the Kharkiv Region Human Rights Aide to the Minister of Internal Affairs Yury Chumak, and the Head of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group Public Advice Centre, Ludmila Klochko.
From that report: two women were taken in for questioning after two computers went missing from their work. According to the women’s testimony, the two officers questioned them separately, trying to force both to make confessions. Svitlana was kicked and had a bag put over her head. Natalya also had tweezers used to press her nipples. Svitlana could hear her friend’s screams, yet neither woman signed a “confession”. They were released, but only after both signed statements that they had no criticism against the police. Both have medical reports from the hospital which they went to following their release. Only Svitlana Pomilyaiko decided to make a formal complaint.
A criminal investigation was initiated only to be revoked by the Ordzhonikidze District Court in Kharkiv. This court ruling, however, was, on 7 May overturned by the Kharkiv Regional Court of Appeal, and the case has been sent back to a first instance court to be examined again.

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