Anti-terrorist units again beating prisoners
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has demanded that the Prosecutor General investigate the latest case where prisoners were beaten.
On 8 June it sent an appeal stating that according to reports it had received from prisoners in Buchansk Penal Colony No. 85 (Kyiv region), on 7 June 2007 between 18.00 and 19.00 a special unit, consisting of men in masks and special outfits was deployed in the heightened security section of the penal colony.
The special unit was brought in on the instructions of the Deputy Head of the Colony Oleksandr Hryhorovych Balduk.
For approximately an hour the prisoners of the heightened security section were beaten by fighters from the special unit. In other parts of the colony, prisoners could clearly hear screams suggesting that they were being subjected to a vicious beating.
At around 20.00 of the same time, not less than 12 prisoners from the heightened security section were brought to the penal hospital with serious bodily injuries. Some were brought their on stretchers. The prisoners were escorted by the special unit men in masks and special outfits. According to our source, some of the prisoners tried to slash their wrists, unable to endure the harsh beating.
The special unit remained in the colony until at least 1 a.m. that night.
The source alleges that the special unit was brought in as a response to numerous complaints from prisoners about the bad conditions.
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union has repeatedly stressed the inadmissibility of using special anti-terrorist units, set up by Order of the State Department for the Execution of Sentences from 10 October 2005 “On approving the Regulations on a special purpose division”, in order to intimidate and subdue prisoners.
The UN Committee against Torture in its recent Recommendations following its review of the Ukrainian Government’s Fifth Periodic Report stated that it was concerned by incidents involving the use of anti-terrorist units in masks inside prisons (for example in the Izyaslav penal colony in January 2007) leading to intimidation and bad treatment of the prisoners. The Committee recommended that the Government ensure that such units are not used inside penal institutions.
The information we have received suggests that the State Department for the Execution of Sentences is continuing to use special anti-terrorist units, thus contravening Ukraine’s international commitments.
The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union urgently calls on the Prosecutor General to carry out an immediate investigation into this information.
We also demand that he uses the powers vested in him by the Law on the Prosecutor and takes all necessary measures to revoke the above-mentioned Order of the State Department for the Execution of Sentences and dissolve the special anti-terrorist units formed as a result..
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