war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.

Messages about torture and cruel treatment. (from 1 May 1999 to 1 Sept. 2000)

Messages about torture and cruel treatment

from 1 May 1999 to 1 September 2000 the following information on applying torture and other prohibited methods of investigation was sent to the Kharkiv Group for human rights protection:

Vitaliy V. Piatnitsa, born in 1974, convicted by the Borislavskiy district court of the Kherson oblast to 13 years of incarceration, told that militiamen of the Chervonogvardeyskiy precinct of the town of Makeevka in the Donetsk oblast applied to him ‘physical measures, by torturing him with ammonia, with a gas mask and electric devices’. Unable to stand further the torture Piatnitsa confessed; in particular, he called a firearm his own, although he had never seen it. Besides, at night of 19 November 1998 militiamen from the Chervonogvardeyskiy precinct together with militiamen of the Borislavskiy precinct broke the door and without showing any documents, without introducing themselves and without inviting civil witnesses searched a private house where Yulia Mikhaylova, a girlfriend of Piatnitsa, resided. The militiamen beat her, extorting the needed testimony, in the presence of Piatnitsa’s sister. The court did not take into consideration Piatnitsa’s and his sister’s story about these violations, and Yulia Mikhaylova was not summoned to the court session at all.

Valentina V. Khvorost residing in Kharkov by the address 6 Krivomazov St., Apt. 57, wrote in her complaint that militia applied torture to her son Andrey N. Khvorost during the preliminary investigation in the Chervonozavodskiy precinct of Kharkov. A. N. Khvorost was beaten, they put a plastic bag on his head. Khvorost’s mother is convinced that her son is innocent and that he confessed his crime under a torture. At present A. N. Khvorost’s case is transferred to the Chervonozavodskiy district court. The Kharkov Group for human rights protection granted to Khvorost an advocate; besides, a complaint is compiled to A.A. Gapon, the head of the Kharkov Directorate of the Ministry of Interior. We have not received any answer yet.

Leonid P. Prikhodko residing in the town of Konotop of the Sumy oblast 61 Mira Ave., Apt. 79, directed a letter to the Kharkov Group for human rights protection. In this letter he told that his son Oleg L. Prikhodko was condemned for murder. The father does not believe that his son committed the murder; he believes that his son confessed under torture. L. Prikhodko was a witness in this case and he also underwent physical and psychological pressure:

‘I was interrogated for 36 hours on end. They jingled with handcuffs under my nose and said that I came to finish. Militia investigators, in order to get the needed confession from my son, beat him. On the night of 22 November 1998 from one to three o’clock I heard my son’s screams. He cried: ‘I did not murder anyone’’. I was sitting and crying since I could not stand his screams. Then they gave me my son’s trousers contaminated with faeces and urine. Those who gave me the trousers mocked saying that my son proved weak in front and behind. My son was tortured to make him confess the crime he had not committed. They blackmailed him and threatened that his family would suffer. Major Nizhnik beat him at once with two palms on his ears; my son lost consciousness because of this blows. Two crime investigators, Osadchiy and Nesterenko, handcuffed my son’s wrists behind his back and putting him downface, wrapped my son’s head with his jacket and putting his legs aside pulled the handcuffs up towards his head. My son fainted from pain, they beat him on the head and in the crotch. They trampled his midriff and chest. Even the head of the precinct, Manko, condescended and beat my son’s head with his noble fists. A wound appeared in the crotch and began to rot. Now a hernia grows in this place.’

Militia used illegal methods of investigation also with respect to the witnesses in this case. So, witness Antoniuk, according to L.P. Prikhodko’s words, came to him and said that under the threat of violent measures he slandered an innocent man (O.L. Prikhodko). When Antoniuk came to prosecutor Sergienko to tell him in which way they had squeezed the testimony from him, Sergienko threatened to arrest Antoniuk. Besides, L.P. Prikhodko suspects that a witness Krutas was made to leave Konotop; the same was suggested to witness Antoniuk. The court did not pay any attention to the complaint of O.L. Prikhodko about the methods of investigation applied to him and condemned O.L. Prikhodko. The Kharkov Group for human rights protection turned with a letter to the Minister of Interior Yu. Kravchenko. We have got no answer yet.

Oleg N. Cherkashin, residing in the settlement of Mikhaylovka, 20 Konovalenko St., of the Hortitsa district in the Zaporozhye oblast, turned to our group with a complaint, where he wrote that he with his girlfriend came to Zaporozhye on 18 February 2000 to sell honey. They remained in Zaporozhye for the night and there they were detained for the alleged robbing of a car. They were brought to the Khortitsa precinct where militia demanded them to confess in the theft. Cherkashin was locked in a cell and his girlfriend tied with handcuffs to the bars near the WC, where she stood till the next evening with breaks for interrogations. Cherkashin wrote: ‘They applied pressure both physical and psychological: they threatened to beat us black and blue, to direct my girlfriend to the VD dispensary for the infection of various VDs; she was forced to strip and her breasts were brutally squeezed’. As the result, Cherkashin had to confess in robbing five cars. His money (Hr 1888 which he had got for selling honey) was confiscated, as well as his car that was searched after the detainment without civil witnesses. After two days of staying in the precinct Cherkashin and his girlfriend were released without money and car, so they could not get home. At present Cherkashin signed that he would not leave his residence. He expects the continuation of the investigation and the trial.

On 13 February 2000 the Ukrainian section of the International Society of human rights received a complaint from Ms. Tatiana A. Hala born in 1982 and residing in Fastov. The complaint read: ‘On 10 February 2000 a militiaman tried to rape me. When I resisted, he started to beat me on the face and other parts of my body. In particular, he injured the bridge of my nose’.

The Ukrainian section of the International Society of human rights received a complaint from a citizen of Iran Reza Eftekhari. He complained at illegal actions of officers of the USS in the Donetsk oblast: ‘ on 5 January 2000 at 21:30 more than ten agents of the USS detained me in my flat. In the process of the detainment I was beaten on the nose and lips, they called me bad names, insulted my religion, called me a spy and tried to make me sign some papers…’

The spouses Isaevs from Kharkov residing in 23 Stadionny proezd complain that their son Yuri V. Isaev kept at present in the preliminary prison of Kharkov is in a extremely grave state, since he repeatedly was tortured and degraded by crime investigators: ‘Our son at present is very ill. He had been brutally beaten and tortured, when he was arrested in 1995 and in 1997. There are many expertise acts that confirm our son’s heavy bodily injuries. In 1995 our son’s spine was gravely injured during tortures by crime investigators (there is a medical expertise act); because of this he has a paralyzed right leg.’

Denis Efimovskiy, convicted for a flat theft by Yasinovataya court to five years of incarceration and kept now in the preliminary prison of Donetsk, complains that on 27 March 1999 he was detained by cops of the Yasinovataya precinct of the Donetsk oblast. Investigation officers proposed him ‘to take’ 10 out of 25 undisclosed flat thefts, at his own choice. Efimovskiy refused to do it. ‘Then cops of the Yasinovataya precinct started to beat me and to torment: they beat me with fists and feet on the head, liver, kidneys and solar plexus. They put a gas mask on my face and intercepted the air income, also they did a ‘swallow’ to me. They also put me upface on the table with my hands handcuffed behind and beat me in the midriff and chest. They also knocked me down and kicked me, stepped on my head and tried to humiliate me. My tormentors were D. Dotsenko, Yu. Dotsenko, Filatov, Moshchniaga, Shurkov, Siltsov. Filatov, in particular, when he beat me, he put on leather gloves, in his office there was a wooden club with the inscription: ‘I want to know all’. He applied this club to beat me. The torture continued to 30 March 1999, I could not stand it any more and signed all the papers.’

Galina P. Uvarova, residing in the town of Makeevka of the Donetsk oblast, 17 Krasnogvardeyskaya St. complained in her letter of 2 August 2000 that militiamen from Makeevka Aleksandr Ivakhnik, Edward Kashcheev and others, whom she does not know, as well as the officers of the department of struggle with organized crime Anisimov and Galuza broke into her house on 13 January 2000 at six of the morning with the purpose of detaining Aleksey Tarasov (see item 9). According to Uvarova’s complaint, they started to beat sleeping Tarasov and poison him from a gas spray. Uvarova and her two daughters, one of which is not full of age, were also detained and transported to the precinct, where they were kept in various passages and offices to the very evening without food and drink. The militia exerted on Uvarova psychological pressure to make her give the needed testimony. Uvarova and her daughters heard how Tarasov and his accomplices were beaten, which struck Uvarova and her daughters, one of which is not full of age. ‘All these brutal actions were witnessed by my daughters to the very evening. I and my children were released only about nine o’clock in the evening. We were not given a drop of food or water, only taken to WC…’ Crime investigation officer Pilipenko demanded from Uvarova testimony by threats. Uvarova’s daughters were also threatened: ‘My elder daughter was threatened by some acquaintance of a militiaman. He threatened her, pulled her hair, beat and spat into her face. He said that he was not afraid of anything and anybody, because he had connections; if he pays enough, he may kill anybody, just at the entrance to the precinct’.
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