war crimes in Ukraine

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It happened on the Easter’s eve

Valeriy Sagaydak, Lviv
On the eve of the Easter, at night of 14 April 2001, when most inhabitants of our oblast hurried to churches, Roman Lozinskiy, the 44-years-old manager of the private firm ‘Business-club’, beaten black and blue and spattered with blood, was shaking in a dirty carriage, hoping that he would not faint and manage to get home in Briukhovichi. His head ached as if it was placed in a scorched cask, the body ached as if all the bones were broken. He breathed with difficulty, thousands of needles seemed to pierce his lungs at each gasp.

Now he does not remember how he managed to crawl home. His wife and daughter ran up to meet him. The women were terrified with his look. Only on Friday, on 13 April, Roman joked and prepared all of them to celebrate the Easter. Now he looked as if he was taken from a cross: black and blue and with the swollen face. The man spent all his efforts for coming to his bed and then he fainted. The wife tried to revive him. The daughter called a motor ambulance. Doctors, having examined the victim, suspected that some bones were broken and entrails damaged. He was taken to an urgent aid hospital. After X-ray-examination doctors found that a broken rib and numerous bodily injuries. ‘Who did it?’, one of the doctors asked the wife. ‘Militia’, she answered. ‘When will they finish to torture people?’ -- commented the doctor. Doctors insisted on leaving the victim in the hospital, since they suspected a breach of the spleen. But Roman, being under the action of physical and psychical shock, thought that doctors were militiamen in white smocks, who wanted to keep him in the ward for further torturing. His snatched his wife’s sleeve and begged to take him home. He even signed a note that he himself refused from the hospitalization. He became worse at home. This time doctor did not hesitate and put him in the 1 stsurgical ward. Next day they found liquid in his lungs too.

Now law-enforcers from Lviv accuse their colleagues from Lutsk: they did the thing – no let them be responsible. Although they are unwilling to explain how militiamen from Lutsk department of the struggle with economic crimes, having come to Lviv, managed to get assistance from their Lviv colleagues without any warrant, only on the basis of their intuitive suspicions, wrong as it now has appeared. The facts looked so: on 13 April a top officer from the directorate of the struggle with economic crimes phoned to the Shevchenkovskliy district precinct in Lviv and ordered to assist the neighbors. The local militiamen were not much interested in the goal of their colleagues’ visit and gave them an office. The cops from Lutsk hurried to Briukhovichi. It was 8 p.m. on the Good Friday.

This time Natalya Lozinskaya and her daughter were baking Easter cakes. They did not lock the door because they often advised with their neighbors. Militiamen made use of the open door: they rushed to the kitchen and asked the master of the house. When he appeared they introduced themselves and proposed him to go to the precinct for a couple of minutes. They said that he must go for a check of some signatures. How could he know that there exists a special procedure, that it is done not at a precinct, but in a forensic lab. He had a habit to trust militia.

When he came to the precinct he was taken to a room on the second floor. Two militiamen, Sh. and N, remained with him and started to strip to the waist. Roman was astonished. ‘First you answer,’ the militiamen said, ‘where is the press on which you make faked foreign banknotes?’ ‘Which banknotes?’ – the businessman was amazed. ‘Do not you understand?’ – asked a militiaman, ‘Then we shall show you what is what’. And the beating began. He was beaten for a long time, with fists and feet. They beat him professionally – on the kidneys, on the liver, on the ribcage. ‘You recollect? No?’ – the question was followed with more beating. When they got tired they changed each other. When the victim mentioned his wish to have an advocate present, they roared with laughter and beat him stronger. Nobody reacted to his screams. Now and then he fainted. In a hour Roman begged: ‘I’ll write what you wish, but stop beating me’. ‘No,’ answered his torturers, ‘tell where you make faked money. We tapped you telephone and know all’. ‘If you know all, go and take it,’ croaked Roman, hoping that they will stop the beating. ‘We will not stop until you tell about the press yourself’. Understanding that they would beat him to death, Roman began to shout loudly. His interrogators became angrier. They glued his mouth with scotch, handcuffed his wrists behind his back, put an iron rod between his hands so that he could not stand up and continued the torture.

After five hours of the torture Roman began to vomit. They took of the scotch and he began to shout again. This time some militiamen came in and stopped the beating. Roman, lying on the floor, did not know that at 2 a.m. his wife and daughter went to the precinct and started a scandal. N. met Natalya and said that her husband makes faked money, this is known by his daughter and they both would be responsible. Having learned about the accusations of her husband and daughter Natalya phoned from the precinct hall to the president of the juridical firm ‘Feniks’ and to advocate Ivan Motrynets. Militiamen were worried. The woman was told that her husband would be released in the morning and that he was OK. You rather go home, they said, he will phone you. Roman really phoned, but his voice sounded as if from a grave. ‘They beat you?’ – Natalya asked. ‘Yes’ – he answered and the talk was interrupted at once.

In the morning it became known that Roman had been taken to Lutsk. By this time both his wife and advocate knew that the militiamen acted without any official warrant. Meanwhile they showed Roman a man, who had phoned him – the man was P., a classmate of his daughter. It appeared that P. was detained with a faked banknote. P. told Roman that he was beaten when militiamen wanted to learn the origin of the banknote. In order to save himself from beating P. began to phone to his acquaintances in Lviv, asking where he could get the banknote. The first man he could reach by phone was Roman. The latter recollected the call, but he did not understand how it implied that he, Roman, faked money.

In the morning advocate Motrinets phoned to Lutsk asking what was the legal basis of taking his client to another town without any provocation. He also demanded to examine his client to determine of he was beaten. In an hour the militia officer on duty in the oblast directorate phoned to Natalya, informed her that her husband would be immediately released and asked her to pardon his torturers in honor of the great religious holiday. She promised to forget all, if they would stop torturing her husband.

In the Lutsk militia directorate we got the information that Roman Lozinskiy did not figure in any criminal case as an accused, and that he was summoned as a witness. They did not comment the beating. Now the prosecutor’s office started the investigation of the activities of the Lutsk militiamen.

The newspaper ‘Vysokiy zamok’, 4 May 2001
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