Trial begins over another death in police custody


The Kievsky District Court in Kharkiv is examining the case against three police officers – B. Tsykhmystro, A. Marchenko and A. Lazarev over the death of 32-year-old Yevhen Zvenigorodsky from Kharkiv. 

Tsykhmystro is charged under two articles of the Criminal Code – 365 § 3 (Exceeding power or official authority with grave consequences) and 121 § 3 (Deliberately inflicting bodily injuries with elements of torture).  Both carry sentences of from 7 to 10 years.

The other two are accused of exceeding official authority with grave consequences.

As reported, at the end of March 2011 a man was found in a grave condition on a city square in Kharkiv, near a police station. It transpired that 32-year-old Yevhen Zvenigorodsky had been detained by police, together with another man, Vitaly Adonin. 

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.

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.

Yevhen Zvenigorodsky died during the night of his injuries.

The police officers claim that the two men were stopped as appearing like pocket thieves. They were allegedly taken to the police station to establish their identity. They deny that they used any force, admitting only to putting handcuffs on, this being, they claim, because the detainees threatened to jump out of the car and run away.  They claim Zvenigorodsky had an injury and say it was from conflict that morning but can provide no more information. They also assert that they offered to call an ambulance but Zvenigorodsky said he didn’t want one.

Vitaly Adonin gives a different account. He asserts that Tsykhmystro was aggressive from the outset and hit them in the car. He says that Lazarev who was driving told Tsykhmystro to stop, saying that the men hadn’t robbed or murdered anybody.  Adonin says that in the station Tsykhmystro continued beating Zenigorodsky on the head and in the stomach.

The next hearing is scheduled for 13 December.

New information from a report at  The photo from a picket is from Mediaport.  The banner says no to torture

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