Three police officers to be prosecuted over death of detainee



The Kharkiv Prosecutor has passed a criminal file to the court against three police officers. 

The Prosecutor General’s Office website informs that the investigation has been completed into a criminal file initiated against two police officers under Article 121 § 2 and 365 § 3 of the Criminal Code (deliberately causing grave bodily injury and exceeding official position committed by law enforcement officers) and against a detective from that department under Article 365 § 3 of the Criminal Code.

The report states that “the above-mentioned police officers on 30 March 2011 unwarrantedly, and with the use of physical violence and special means (handcuffs) detained and brought to the Kharkiv Regional Central Department of the MIA two persons. During the detention one of them was inflicted bodily injuries as a result of which he died.”

The following provides more details about the case:

Yevhen Zvenigorodsky

At the end of March 2011 it became known that a man whose body was found in a city square had been beaten in the neighbouring police station and left there to die. Two men had been detained: 32-year-old Yevhen Zvenigorodsky and Vitaly Adonin.  The Kharkiv Regional Police are claiming that both were suspected of committing a crime, but, the author says, the Prosecutor has already admitted that the detention was unlawful and involved officers “exceeding their authority”.

They began beating Yevhen Zvenigorodsky straight away, then took both men to the Central Police Station on Sovnarkomskaya.  The official records say that they were there for more than an hour. The Prosecutor’s information says that Yevhen Zvenigorodsky complained several times that he was feeling bad. The Prosecutor says that at that stage his internal organs had been damaged, and he was haemorrhaging.

Instead of calling an ambulance, the police officers kept beating him.  The Regional Police Department does not deny that the officers demanded money from the detainees.

They stopped the beating only when Yevhen Zvenigorodsky’s state became very bad.

According to official Prosecutor information, the men were taken out after an hour.

Yevhen Zvenigorodsky could not move by himself, and they left him to die on a bench in the square.

After that they returned to the police station and wrote in the visitors’ book, as though from the detainees themselves, that they had no complaints against the police.

An ambulance was called for Yevhen Zvenigorodsky at around 11 in the evening.  His relatives are convinced that that means he was not tortured for only an hour.

Yevhen Zvenigorodsky died during the night of his injuries.

An autopsy was carried out on 31 March, and all police officers who had anything to do with the detained men gave testimony.

The author points out that the Kharkiv Prosecutor, Yevhen Popovych has taken a principled stand in this matter, and immediately initiated a criminal investigation over inflicting fatal injuries and exceeding authority with grave consequences.

The police refused at the last minute to be interviewed, and the men under investigation are claiming that Yevhen Zvenigorodsky arrived at the police station in that state, though this does not explain why they didn’t call an ambulance. 

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