Donetsk Police accustomed to beating detainees
On 18 May human rights groups in Donetsk took part in a discussion of the work of the police and prosecutor’s office in the Donetsk region. Representatives of the enforcement agencies ignored the invitation to participate.
Oleksandr Bukalov, Head of Donetsk Memorial, spoke of the less than ideal work carried out by the police. He said that their advice centre had recently been visited by a young man, Viktor, who had been beaten by transport police officers. They advised him to photograph everything and get it all recorded at the hospital. They also approached the Prosecutor’s Office which following the check initiated a criminal investigation which is extremely rare in such cases.
“There was another case recently, yet the Prosecutor’s Office refused to initiate a criminal investigation, in honesty, over a formality. Two young men were beaten. One of the documents said that the police officer had pulled a bag over the guy’s head with his left hand, the other – with his right. The Prosecutor viewed this inaccuracy as discrepancies in testimony and refused to open a case.”
He added that they had finally managed after a great deal of difficulty to obtain an important document – the Instructions on carrying out internal investigations. This states that if a law enforcement officer involved in the case does not wish to testify, he doesn’t have to. He points out that all internal investigations stop at this point.
Mr Bukalov named the following main violations during detention:
- relatives are not informed;
- they do all that they can to make it impossible to appeal against the detention;
- they don’t inform those detained of their rights.
He named the Voroshylivsky District Police Station as one of the worst, and said that its Head had not wanted to allow the mobile group entry to check their work, however he was forced to. They found paint scratched of the radiators in one of the interrogation rooms which could suggest that detainees have been chained with handcuffs to the radiators. A larger number of officers than in other stations – 38% - consider that they can’t do their work without violating human rights.