Police officers accused of torturing a detainee still at work
Three years after 6 officers of the Department for Fighting Organized Crime [UBOZ] in the Chernihiv region were found guilty by a first instance court of exceeding their powers and unlawful methods of detective inquiry, a Chernihiv newspaper reports that all the men are at liberty and some are still serving in UBOZ.
As reported, the criminal investigation was initiated in October 2008 following the death of Serhiy Kuntsevsky who died on 2 October from a closed skull injury in the premises of the Chernihiv Regional UBOZ in Prytuky. Video footage of the actual detention showed officers putting a polyethylene bag over his head. He was detained in the early afternoon and died at around 10 in the evening.
The court found that there had been violations of criminal procedure legislation during the detention of the Kyntsevsky brothers, Y. Musiyenko and O. Mykhalyonko on suspicion of criminal activities. It also established that torture had been applied in the form of beatings and other forms of violence aimed at extracting confessions, with these having had grave consequences.
The case, initiated by the Prosecutor’s office, was sent to the Konotop City-District Court (Sumy oblast), although cases are normally examined by courts in the place where the alleged crime was committed. This court on 16 December found 6 officers guilty, and acquitted three.
The convictions were appealed in the Sumy Court of Appeal and overturned. There is no information in the text as to the grounds. This took place at the end of 2009 and the case was sent back for new examination.
The new court examination resulted in three acquittals; two men – Pastukhov and Molokovskykh – being convicted of torture and exceeding his duties, sentenced to 8 years and stripped of their rank; Nikitin and Shetel got 4 years; Mitrofanov – 3.6; Kyrylchenko – 3 years conditional sentence. The Chernihiv Regional UBOZ was ordered to pay 250 thousand UAH in moral damages and 23.200 UAH in material compensation to the mother of the dead man.
This verdict was also appealed, and the Sumy Court of Appeal revoked its previous verdict; released all the officers who had been in custody for almost three years. The case was sent for new examination
The Nizhynsk City-District Court thought about what to do and decided to send it for further examination.
The Prosecutor’s Office appealed, with this being examined on 18 October 2012. Of the six defendants, only three appeared in court. Pastukhov and Molokovskykh said that they were retired, not working respectively, while Nikitin, it turned out, was still working in UBOZ.
The court heard details from one of the victims in the case – Yury Musiyenko – and allowed the Prosecutor’s appeal. The case should not be examined further, but sent back to the Nizhynsk Court for a new examination with a new judge.
The newspaper reports that two others – Shetelya and Kyrylchenko – are still serving officers