Special Force Penal Service officers again deployed against prisoners?
According to Andriy Didenko, Programme Coordinator for the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, there are reports, unconfirmed but from various sources, that on 5 July Special Force Officers from the State Penitentiary Service beat a large number of prisoners at Colony No. 89 in Dnipropetrovsk.
Only two months ago similar reports were received about the Simferopol SIZO [remand unit] (http://www.khpg.org/en/index.php?id=1305153739.
Much has been said over recent years regarding the unlawful use of such a special unit supposedly used as an anti-terrorism unit, but deployed against prisoners.
As far back as 28 December 2007 the Ministry of Justice informed the State Department for the Execution of Sentences that it had cancelled the registration of Order No. 167 from 10 October 2005 allowing for a special anti-terrorist unit within the Department used for carrying out searches of prisoners and penal institutions and pre-trial detention centres, and effectively for intimidating those deprived of their liberty
The cancellation of its registration meant that Order No. 167 had ceased to be in force and needed to be revoked by the Department..
Unfortunately it does not seem to have meant abandonment of unlawful methods. This is despite the European Court of Human Rights Judgement in the Case if Davydov and others v. Ukraine which found that Ukraine violated Article 3 (prohibition of torture) with the mass-scale beating of prisoners at the Izyaslav Penal Colony No. 58 in 2001-2002.
The reports concerning the alleged new deployment of the special unit on 5 July lists the prisoners who may have been beaten, as well as four members of the Penitentiary Service or Colony Administration bearing responsibility.
At present all attempts to get through to the Penitentiary Service and Prosecutor’s Office and receive information have been unsuccessful.
Andriy Didenko states that he would be willing to go himself to check the veracity of the reports received.
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