• Topics / Against torture and ill-treatment
• Topics / Law enforcement agencies
Key witness in trial over Ihor Indylo’s death in police custody clearly frightened
Following a second summons, Oleksandr Khomenko, the young man who went with Ihor Indylo to the police station where Ihor died did turn up in the court. Oleksandr (Sashko) had been Ihor’s friend since childhood. He saw why an ambulance was called for his friend.
“I didn’t tell anybody anything”, the young man who had turned 21 the day before, kept repeating in court. Journalist Yehor Sobolyev, who is covering the trial, asks who that was for – the court or Ihor Indylo’s parents who assert that Khomenko told them that Serhiy Prykhodko the police officer who took Ihor in killed him. “Or for that same police officer who for the whole six hours that Sashko was talking, was sitting just three steps away from the key witness?”
Khomenko is now asserting that nobody is to blame for Ihor Indylo’s death. He says that they drank moonshine that day which his parents had given him to take from the village to Ihor for his birthday (Ihor should have turned 20 the day after he was taken into police custody. He died in the early hours of the morning). He says that he went to another room and then saw Prykhodko taking his friend to the police station and said that he would go too, “because I was concerned”. He says that Prykhodko took them both into the room where detainees are photographed and the police officer sat down to write out a protocol. He says that Ihor remained standing, while he sat down, and even though he was less than a couple of metres away, he claims that he did not see Ihor fall. “I was looking at the protocol”. Yet he asserts that nobody touched Ihor. “He fainted. Fell on his back”. Then, he says, the police officer brought water, called an ambulance. And after the doctor refused to hospitalize Ihor, the police officer took Khomenko back to the hostel. Khomenko says that he did not see his friend being dragged, half conscious, to a cell.
In general, Khomenko answered almost all questions, by first repeating them, hesitating for 10-20 seconds, then saying that he didn’t remember.
Ihor Indylo’s parents in turn told the judge that Sashko Khomenko had told them everything on the fourth day after their son’s death by telephone. He had even then been clearly terrified and at one point Ludmila Indylo had to ask if silence meant he agreed to what had been said, for example, that Ihor had been beaten.
Ivan Indylo said that during this summer he had spoken with Sashko Khomenko who finally told him that “Prykhodko should be killed” and when asked why, said that Ihor had stood before him, his arms folded. Prykhodko has told him to sign the protocol and he’d refused. Prykhodko had then pushed him with both arms and Ihor had been thrown hard against the wall. Yehor Sobolyev points out that the forensic examination found the cause of death to be a blow to the right side of the head and fracture of the cranial vertebrae. The room in question has a parquet floor (and Ihor sustained no back injuries) whereas the wall is like any wall – hard.