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27.01.2011

“You and the Police: Survival Advice”

   

Arkady Bushchenko, Head of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union Board and Kharkiv Human Rights Group Lawyer says that human rights groups are forced to warn the public to be wary of the police. He reports that 40 people died in police stations in 2010.  According to the Kharkiv Institute for Social Research, 2010 broke all records for the number of cases of unlawful violence by police officers. Last year 790 thousand people suffered as a result, and from 2004 to 2009 the number was 1 million 319 thousand.  As Arkady Bushchenko puts it, “every 40 seconds in Ukraine there was a case of unlawful violence by the police. We consider that the police are becoming one of the threats to society and in general a threat to national security”

The human rights activists remind the public of certain simple rules on how to behave with the police. They recommend not appearing at the police station on the basis of a phone call, but demanding a summons. They advise not allowing police officers into their flat if they don’t have a court order. If there is an interrogation, they should demand a protocol and only sign their own testimony. In general it’s better to go with your lawyer, this being each person’s rights and confirmed by a judgment of the Constitutional Court.

The advice was prompted by two tragic incidents in January in the Kharkiv region. First a man suspected of involvement in the drug business fell from the window of the Loziv Police Station. He died in hospital.

A week later, a woman whom the police suspected of theft fell from the window of the same police station. The relatives of the two people who died are convinced that both were tortured by the police. The police claim that inadequate behaviour was involved, and an attempt to flee.

From a report here

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