Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
A captured resident of Kramatorsk who returned home via an exchange told the correspondent of the Federal News Agency about the torture in the torture chambers of the SBU, about a neighbour who was tortured to death, and about the measures of psychological pressure that prisoners in Ukrainian prisons are subjected to.
Sergey Koskelny once lived in Kramatorsk, which is nowadays under the control of Kiev. Before the war he was an employee of the Kramatorsk police department, working as an assistant detective in the criminal investigation department. During the military operations the man was still in the city, but on February 10th, 2015, military personnel of the UAF rushed into his apartment. It is noteworthy that they didn’t produce any documents that would allow them to enter private territory — neither an arrest warrant nor a court order.
“They put me in handcuffs, took me out the apartment, and brought me to a SBU basement. I was beaten every day for three-four hours. With some respite, of course. Then I was tortured with electricity. They had a brown machine with a magnetic tape. I don’t know how everything was set up there, but after a while the discharge of electricity started, and I passed out from the pain. They also put a plastic bag on my head so that I couldn’t breathe. They put me in the ‘lastochka‘ position — they tied my feet to my head,” said Sergey, describing the horrors of being in captivity.
In such a way SBU employees tried to beat out from Koskelny the names of police officers of Kramatorsk who helped the Armed Forces of the DPR. In addition, they tried to pin a criminal article on Sergey – that he allegedly corrected fire around the city.
The man confessed to doing something he didn’t actually do, he obviously wasn’t in a fit state, and then agents of the Ukrainian special services exploited the most painful thing — his family.
“They said that if I won’t testify, they will take my wife and daughter to the frontline, where ‘Azov’ and other volunteer groups would take care of them,” remembers Koskelny. “They said that they will rape and humiliate them however they want, and then they will be buried somewhere in a forest plantation, and I will never find them. ‘How will you live with this feeling?’ they said”.
However, the affair wasn’t limited to threats to kill relatives and torture. The prisoners were kept in basement cells: some in singles, others in the company of other prisoners. The interlocutor of FAN remembered how one more person was brought to the cellar.
“I understood that he was recently captured. I noticed that when he put his shoes on they had laces, but they in general were taken away from everyone,” said Sergey.
Koskelny was chained by handcuffs to a horizontal bar, his neighbor was on the opposite side of the room — it was exactly there that he was beaten and tortured.
“It was audible how the little machine with electricity worked, after all, I myself experienced it. And once after being tortured he was told to get dressed. He approached the horizontal bar, and was chained. He breathed for another two minutes and then died. I started shouting — SBU employees came and started beating me for shouting. I showed them the man who wasn’t breathing. They tried to give him artificial respiration, but nothing happened. He was packed into a black bodybag and taken away,” said the released prisoner.
How many more people died in the SBU’s torture chambers, of course, isn’t known, much like the fate of prisoners who still remain on the territory of Ukraine. It isn’t excluded that their fate was the same as the unknown man who Koskelny spoke about. The next exchange, if it takes place, will shed light on this secret, perhaps.
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