• Topics / Against torture and ill-treatment
• Topics / Law enforcement agencies
Three former police officers sentenced over death of Yevhen Zvenigorodsky
At the end of March 2011 a man was found in a grave condition on a city square in Kharkiv, near a police station. It transpired that 32-year-old Yevhen Zvenigorodsky had been detained by police, together with another man, Vitaly Adonin. Three men were charged over his death: BohdanTsykhmystro, Oleksandr. Marchenko and Oleksy Lazarev over the death of 32-year-old Yevhen Zvenigorodsky from Kharkiv. The three were all charged with unlawfully detaining Mr Zvenigorodsky (under 365 § 3 of the Criminal Code - exceeding power or official authority with grave consequences - while B. Tsykhmystro was also charged under 121 § 3 - deliberately inflicting bodily injuries with elements of torture.
On 6 April the Kyivsky District Court in Kharkiv found all men guilty. Bohdan Tsykhmystro was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment, while Oleksandr. Marchenko and Oleksy Lazarev received four years imprisonment. All men were stripped of their rank and prohibited from holding office in the law enforcement bodies – Tsykhmystro for three years, the other two for one year.
The forensic tests found that Mr Zvenigorodsky died from a stomach injury, and that he had been beaten no later than 5 hours before his death. This meant that he had been beaten in the police station. The examination found injuries all over his body though the immediate cause of death was haemorrhaging as the result of no less than four blows to the stomach.
According to Vitaly Adonin, Yevhen’s friend who was also detained, the beating continued in the car. He says that during the interrogation, Yevhen Zvenigorodsky complained that he was feeling bad, but the police did not call an ambulance. It was only when his state seriously deteriorated that they took him out into the park and left him on a bench. An ambulance was called by patrol officers, but it was too late to save him and he died on the operating table.
Despite complaints that he was feeling bad, Mr Zvenigorodsky was not given medical assistance, nor was a detention protocol drawn up. The investigators found that at around 19.00 two of the officers took Yevhen Zvenigorodsky and left him on a bench in the square nearby. He was taken to the ambulance clinic but died in the early hours of the next morning.
The Prosecutor had sought their conviction and asked for sentences of 9 years for Bohdan Tsykhmystro and 6 and 5 for the other two.
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