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Yury Verbytsky sustained horrific injuries

Halya Coynash

While the official cause of abducted EuroMaidan activist Yury Verbytsky’s death was hyperthermia, opposition MPs have released a list of his injuries which make it quite clear that those who left him in the Boryspil Forest outside Kyiv must have understood that they were leaving him to die.

MP Hennady Moskal is demanding that Verbytsky’s death be treated as a murder attempt.  He cites the results of the forensic autopsy which found multiple injuries, damage to soft tissue and bruising all over his body, including to the chest, abdomen, face and skull, as well as multiple rib fractures and breakages.

Moskal points out that the Interior Ministry report claiming that Verbytsky died of hyperthermia bears no relation to the real situation.

Yury Verbytsky, a 51-year-old seismologist from Lviv was abducted from hospital during the early hours of Jan 21 by up to 10 men in plain clothes.  He had been taken to hospital by well-known journalist and EuroMaidan activist Ihor Lutsenko who was also abducted.  Their disappearance was reported immediately, with that of Lutsenko receiving most public attention given his prominence. 

It may have been this which saved his life.  Lutsenko was found on Jan 22, badly beaten but alive.  He recounted how the men had been taken to the forest, then into a shed and savagely beaten.  He also said then that Verbytsky had received worse treatment, probably because he was from Lviv in Western Ukraine.

On Jan 22 Lutsenko was in no doubt who was behind such abductions and beatings, saying that such treatment followed a standard pattern with people being interrogated and badly beaten outside the city and then taken to police stations.  He himself had been asked questions about Maidan, how decisions were taken, what plans there were and who was controlling the Right Sector.

Lutsenko believed that Verbytsky would be found in some police station.  Tragically this was not the case and his badly mutilated body was found in the forest on Jan 23.   

The likely government collusion in the abduction and effective killing of Yury Verbytsky has been noted by Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations.

Despite the fact that injured peaceful activists are frightened of hospitals for fear of abduction or arrest, and now in spite of clear evidence that Verbytsky was horrifically tortured and left to die, the authorities deny any complicity and refuse to take any measures against the spiraling violence and impunity.

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