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28.07.2012

Worrying SOS calls from Ternopil region corrective colony

   

The website Poglyad.te.ua reports that relatives of prisoners serving sentences in the Kolychynska Corrective Colony No. 112 in the Ternopil oblast on Friday morning received alarming telephone messages speaking of a mass beating of prisoners.

Poglyad say that they have learned that several days ago a special forces unit arrived in the colony. The reports say that on Friday morning nine prisoners were lying beaten in punishment units as a result of their efforts.

More than 30 prisoners have apparently tried to slash their wrists in protest.

Little more can be reported with real certainty at this stage.  The State Penitentiary Service in the Ternopil region has posted a statement on its site.  It is perhaps indicative that the report is not immediately visible to those of us accustomed to checking news or press service announcements.  The statement on this site is under “Reaction to criticism”.

It states that on 26 July there were “tactical-special training exercises of a united swift response unit of the Kolychynska corrective colony and the Chortiv Pre-Trial Detention Unit, with the involvement also of a Special Purpose Unit of the Zhytomyr Region State Penitentiary Service.

“The exercises were carried out in order to work on actions in response to exceptional situations such as mass prison riots, as well as the organization and holding of searches in penal institutions.”

The statement claims that hand combat methods both with and without weapons were practised in the sports hall which is outside the colony.

This is the first report of deployment of a special “anti-terrorist” or swift-response unit for some time.  Features of the reports are, however, reminiscent of previous occasions when such units which have not officially existed for a few years now have been deployed.

More information will be provided as it becomes available. 

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