Beatings in police custody turned into business


According to a study carried out by the Kharkiv Institute for Social Research with the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, over 700 thousand Ukrainians who were detained by the police last year were subjected to some fort of torture or ill-treatment.

“Violence in police custody is systemic yet only the isolated few get punished”, Andriy Didenko from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group says. He adds that there has been an increase in the amount of torture since the new regime has abolished the mechanism for public control over human rights observance. For two and a half years mobile groups could visit unimpeded any places of confinement under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They met with detainees, recorded violations of human rights. That was to a large extent instrumental in preventing the use of torture against detainees.

There have been three judgements of the European Court of Human Rights regarding ineffective investigations into cases of unlawful violence. The Ukrainian government has been told within a year to change legislation in order to prevent abuse of remand in custody which should only be applied where a person poses a threat to society. In Ukraine remand in custody is most often unwarranted.

Aigul Mukanova from the Strategic Court Defence Centre believes that “beatings in police stations have been turned into business.  A person is detained and has a confession beaten out of him that he committed a crime he has no idea about. They draw up a protocol, summon the detainee’s relatives and demand a certain amount of money. When they get the money they rip up the protocol and throw it away.

If the person is beaten in a police station, they should first of all seek a forensic examination to record the injuries. They may not allow this until the wounds from the torture have healed.  Then it’s important to not stop writing complaints. No response from the State to them is also a violation of human rights.”

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