war crimes in Ukraine

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The Kherson police torture people according to instructions from 1936

10.05.2006    source:

For two years engineers of the collectively owned institute – “Khersonagroproekt” have been waging a campaign in defence of their rights. The institute owns premises valued at 1 million USD which a Kyiv is trying to take away from them.

Olga Yalovenko, the head of the board of the cooperative “Khersonagroproekt”, is a heroic woman. For two years she has been fighting trumped up charges in court. When in December 2005 the building was occupied by armed people, she, together with the engineers, lived and worked for two months in a minibus near the institute and climbed a ladder to the third storey – the only storey, where the engineers had barricaded themselves in from the bandits. When she, holding a court ruling in the cooperative’s favour, tried to get into the institute, hired thugs from a security firms beat her up, causing concussion. They tried intimidating her, then bribing, but with no effect.

In summer 2005 the Kyiv invaders offered her a bribe of 400 thousand UH if she’d give up the battle and hand over all the documents and seal of the institute. Olga Yalovenko lodged a complaint with the Department for fighting organized crime [UBOZ].

After that she acted in accordance with UBOZ instructions and all her conversations with the Kyiv thugs were recorded. When the latter transferred 400 thousand UH to her account and brought corresponding documents from the bank, they were detained by UBOZ officers. The event was covered by all local newspapers.

The prosecutor’s office started a criminal case on a charge of bribery.  Yet  the people who’d given the bribe  were released the same day, and the case was “buried”. On 5 April 2006 the High Economic Court confirmed  “Khersonagroproekt”s ownership of the institute building. On the same day Ms. Yalovenko was discharged from hospital after a stroke. And on 10 April she was taken to a cell of the Suvorovskiy District Police Station in Kherson. It turned out that the people who had tried to bribe her filed a complaint to the prosecutor’s office that Yalovenko had tricked them out of this money using fraudulent means. And the Suvorovskiy district prosecutor’s office started a criminal case against Olga Yalovenko accusing her of fraud on an especially large scale. (Strange that they didn’t charge UBOZ who’d headed the entire operation)

Yesterday Olga told Kherson journalists that police officers had taken away her medicine which she had to take regularly to prevent her blood pressure rising and another stroke. There was no window nor clock in the cell, she had to knock at the door and to ask for her medicine. Sometimes she got it, and sometimes not, and finally, she lost consciousness. A policeman she knew came to visit Olga, found her unconscious and called an ambulance. Her pulse was very weak. The woman was taken to hospital and placed under a drip. Nevertheless, the ward was guarded by two armed policemen. In the morning of 11 March Major Cherednichenko came and ordered Olga to be handcuffed  to the bed! In this he referred to an instruction from 1936  which allegedly read that a detained person must be held handcuffed in hospital. An investigating officer from the prosecutor’s office tried to question the patient but was prohibited from doing so by the doctors.

Kherson human rights activists conducted the campaign for protection of rights of the collective of “Khersonagroproekt” for two years: they came to courts, held press conferences, were on duty in the minibus, wrote numerous letters, went to Kyiv in the Prosecutor General’s office and the Verkhovna Rada. Three public organizations, 3 newspapers, a TV channel and 2 radio stations took part in this campaign.

On Tuesday, 11 April, journalists managed to get to the hospital and photograph, through the glass door the woman under a drip handcuffed to the bed. This photo was circulated in the media. Yesterday the handcuffs were removed. In the evening a delegation of journalists from different publications visited Olga Yalovenko.  The law enforcement officers objected, but the doctor let them in and they were able to speak with Olga. They police got in a real state, they started to arrive at the hospital; even the police head came at 23:00. The officers tried to persuade the journalists that the court would send Yalovenko to the pre-trial detention centre.

Today, on the third day after the detention, the court has resolved: there were no grounds for detention at all! Journalists and human rights protectors of the Kherson region are turning for assistance to everybody, who can help to solve this situation.

14 April 2006

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