Pomilyaiko torture case: Victim’s relatives summoned for questioning
Svitlana Pomilyaiko’s relatives have been summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office as witnesses in an unknown criminal investigation. The summons arrived on the day set for the questioning. The Prosecutor’s Office investigator rang and threatened to get the people brought in by force.
It was reported in November this year that the Prosecutor of the Ordzhonikidze District in Kharkiv had once again terminated the criminal investigation into allegations of police torture from Svitlana Pomilyaiko.
Back in 2008 two women were taken in for questioning after two computers went missing from their work. According to the women’s testimony, the two officers questioned them separately, trying to force both to make confessions. Svitlana was kicked and had a bag put over her head. Natalya also had tweezers used to press her nipples. Svitlana could hear her friend’s screams, yet neither woman signed a “confession”. They were released, but only after both signed statements that they had no criticism against the police. Both have medical reports from the hospital which they went to following their release. Only Svitlana Pomilyaiko decided to make a formal complaint.
A criminal investigation was initiated only to be revoked by the Ordzhonikidze District Court in Kharkiv. That court ruling, however, was, on 7 May overturned by the Kharkiv Regional Court of Appeal, and the case was been sent back to a first instance court to be examined again.
Ms Pomilyaiko has, with the help of Kharkiv Human Rights Group lawyers, lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights. Ludmila Klochko from the KHPG Public Advice Centre explains that the Court in Strasbourg normally demands that all possible remedies have been exhausted in Ukraine. However, with the case being sent back and forth, initiated and terminated, it is clear that the victim had no other choice but to approach the European Court. KHPG has also been helping Svitlana Pomilyaiko to appeal against the termination by the Prosecutor of the criminal investigation.
It was also in connection with this case that police officers lodged a defamation suit against the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Lutsenko, former Head of the Kharkiv Regional MIA, and former Human Rights Adviser to the Minister, Yury Chumak.