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Criminal investigation initiated over death of student in police custody


The Shevchenkivsky District Prosecutor’s Office has initiated a criminal investigation against police officers over the death of a 19-year-old student in the Shevchenkivsky District Police Station. The Kyiv Prosecutor’s Press Service reported this on Friday following publicity over widely divergent reports about the young man’s death.  It stated that the investigation has been launched under Article 365 of the Criminal Code (exceeding official powers) which carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment.

As reported here, the story provided by the police was very different from that reported on TV “1 + 1” two days ago. The police claimed that Ihor had fallen several times after being taken into custody in a state of inebriation because he was disturbing the peace. The news channel reported that his parents had been contacted and asked to collect their son’s body from the morgue the morning after he was taken from his hostel to the police station by a police officer who is presently living at the same hostel.

Students explained that Ihor had been visited by a school friend, that the two had drunk a bit to mark his coming birthday and then Ihor saw his friend off. On the veranda the young men met the police officer, and an altercation followed which ended with Ihor being taken in the police officer’s car to the station.

When the police officer returned at 21.30, the lecturers asked him to release the lad, however he refused, claiming that Ihor had been aggressive in the police station. He said that they would only release him in three days.  The news report stated that an ambulance had been called four times during that night, but that the doctors had refused to take him. Ihor’s mother said that the autopsy had been carried out before they arrived and that the cause of death they were given over the phone – that their son choked to death – did not correspond with the doctor’s report which reported haemorrhaging and head injuries.

We reported yesterday that lawyers from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union were speaking with Ihor’s relatives.

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