What’s the point of a Prosecutor who doesn’t want to defend us from torturers?
The Prosecutor sees no grounds for initiating criminal proceedings against the police officer who allegedly tortured Yakov Strogan.
The Kharkiv man who publicly alleged that after being accused of inflicting injuries on his neighbour he was tortured by the police who demanded money from him, was then arrested by the police and appeared in court the next day with numerous bruises. He is charged with attempted murder with the accusation first emerging 2 months after the initial dispute between two neighbours and just over a week after Mr Strogan repeated his allegations during parliamentary hearings.
Since Mr Strogan’s injuries were visible to all those present in the court on 10 December, the police chose to claim that these were self-inflicted.
The numerous hematomas, the pouring of liquid ammonia down his nose and mouth, testimony of witnesses and doctors were not deemed grounds by the Prosecutor for initiating a criminal investigation.
By failing to defend Strogan, the Prosecutor is effectively giving a carte blanche to police officers to continue their actions. The refusal to initiate criminal proceedings can be viewed as encouraging the increased use of torture in Kharkiv and throughout the country. As well as a warning to all those victims of torture that they should keep their heads low and not dare to complain.
The failure to act by the Prosecutor’s Office is fostering impunity and encouraging police torturers to commit new crimes.
It should be noted that the European Court of Human Rights has issued a number of judgments finding Ukraine guilty of torure (Davidov vs. Ukraine, Afanasyev vs. Ukraine and others). In all those cases the Prosecutor failed to carry out a proper investigation and did not acknowledge the torture. The compensation to the victims for the inaction or lack of professionalism of the Prosecutor’s Office was paid for out of our taxes.
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