Translated by Helga Green
All summer long a lukewarm conflict was developing in Ukraine as a result of the UN report accusing Ukrainian Security Service SBU of running secret jails and torturing prisoners.
It all began as early as in May, when UN delegation from the Subcommittee for Prevention of Torture terminated its visit to Ukraine after the experts were denied access to a series of prisons in the cities of Kramatorsk and Mariupol in the East of the country.
In several days time The Times newspaper with reference to UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human rights Ivan Šimonović published the material claiming that the SBU is systematically rounding up and torturing sympathizers of the DPR and LPR.
The spy service in the person of its current head Hrytsak had naturally tried to whitewash itself by pronouncing routine evasive phrases about the efforts the Security Service makes in order to adhere to Ukrainian laws and international obligations.
Eventually Hrytsak even started losing the plot from time to time, charging the UN with condoning the enemies of the humanity and almost with work for the Kremlin. However, at times he came to his senses, and then he blurted admittance of the facts, which could have taken place without his knowledge. As a matter of fact, the Ukrainian vessel is not so enduring, and no one is eager to find himself the head of the service responsible for crimes against humanity.
Anyway, the attempt to depict SBU as a paragon of law abidance and humanistic approach never ceased in the course of the summer. With this aim a series of performances had been staged of journalists’ visits to neat and comfortable prisons with ruddy cheerful inmates, grateful to the SBU for their happy jail term.
They also used the talking head of Lutkovska – Ukrainian ombudswoman. She visited one of the jails on August 12 and was totally satisfied, claiming that she registered no regime violations, and all the talk about secret inaccessible for observers prisons is just a misunderstanding.
Those prisoners, who were lucky to survive such detention centers, commented on the value of such visits, describing the methods of their incarcerators in detail: on the eve of the visit by the next talking head or a journalist delegation all the inmates were simply loaded to trucks and brought to some yard of the next building to wait for the eye-service ritual to finish.
The effect of such shows was minimal, and then the group of support for Ukrainian democracy had another idea.
In the end of July two renowned human rights organizations – Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – that had established a foothold among the most humane and just in the world, had simultaneously all of a sudden published reports indirectly confirming the UN information.
The report bearing the dramatic title “You do not exist” contains evidence of kidnapping, illegal and unauthorized detentions and torture. It would seem that Ukraine had gone so far that even such loyal to “their sons of bitches” boards suddenly could not keep silence any longer.
However, do not hurry to say “Surprise, surprise!”.
The perk of such reports is in the fact that they create an impression of dealing with isolated cases. The above mentioned organizations operate such figures as five, ten, or fifteen victims that allegedly had been subjected to human rights violations and violations of international and national regulations on the part of Ukrainian law enforcing bodies.
And this is where, so to say, the devil hides.
Thing is, such reports are compiled not to target the real crimes of Ukrainian regime, but on the contrary, to disguise them.
Having created the impression of isolated violations (what are five, ten or even fifteen people in the context of a forty-million country?), Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch strive to create an illusion that Ukraine is quite a democratic and law-abiding country, although with certain faults, which can be attributed to continuing hostilities.
Nevertheless even the incomplete list of the detainees , which also need to be constantly updated, contains 850 names.
Particularly, it contains the name of Nikolay Vakaruk, who had been recently released by the SBU after 18 months of illegal detention and torture. The native of the Donetsk Region, who was subjected to repressions only for his acquaintance with a suspect, totally reveals not only isolated drawbacks of the current Ukrainian system, but its essence in his interview.
In a nutshell the mechanism of Ukrainian justice is the following.
Some or other disloyal person is detained and in most cases (up to 75%) accused forming a terror group or an illegal military unit. By way of psychological pressure, threats, of simply by torture the confession is extorted and the person is made to split upon his “accomplices” in exchange for suspended sentence.
Ukrainian law enforcing officers consider that after such treatment, facing conviction on terrorism charges, the person is no longer dangerous for the system.
This is the pattern all detainees have to follow irrespectively of their age and gender.
For instance, journalist from Kiev Miroslava Berdnyk was detained along this very pattern and is charged by SBU with organization of a terror group. At that an icon and a piece of St George ribbon serve as material evidence of the terror group existence.
Another example: a 19-year old girl from Artemovsk, who before the war entered a university in Donetsk. In the fall of 2014 she, out of young naiveté, staying in the university hostel, which was at the time used also as military barracks by local militias, posed for a snapshot together with the fighters and posted the picture on her “VKontakte” page.
She had to pay great price for her naiveté.
When she was visiting parents during her holidays (in Kiev-controlled territory), she was kidnapped at night by unknown people in face masks, and was unavailable for several weeks. Finally she was found in Kharkov detention center, that is, in the premises, which are referred to in the UN report as a secret prison.
In accordance with the above described pattern a confession was extorted from the girl that she participated in the formation of a terror group, and then she received suspended sentence – just in case, to stay assured.
In the same way even women older than 70 are accused of forming terror groups. Such women also can be found in the above mentioned list. Moreover, the fate of hundreds of people from the list is known to no one at the moment, and even the Ukrainian law enforcement bodies themselves are not always able to account for the exact location and status of the people detained by them.
By them we mean not only the people, who had been arrested on charges of the more or less official Ukrainian bodies, such as the Prosecutor’s Office of the SBU. The fate of hundreds and hundreds, rounded up by different gangs of volunteer militants, is not registered at all, and the information in regard to them at times can surface only as a result of investigation of criminal activities of such battalions as notorious “Tornado”.
A well-known babbling Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov, who made a great contribution to propaganda of terror and illegal repressions, commented on Ukrainian realities with such passage on September 1:
“There were such SBU, police and army officers, who took the responsibility for the deeds violating the Criminal Code. Certain operations had been conducted that will never be recorded in the history of their military service and for which no rewards will be granted.
Yes, those, who had connections with Russian secret services or Russian mobilizers, were kidnapped, without warrants or ceremonies. Yes, it was cruel. If the war had been declared, everyone, who hung Russian flags in Ukrainian cities, who in phone conversations informed the enemy about the movement of Ukrainian troops, everyone, who perpetrated in enemy propaganda, would become an outlaw.
And the court would acquit those, who used all kinds of punishment against them. However, the war was not declared – and thus those, who fought at the secret fronts, found themselves outlawed in their own country. This is too unjust”.
In fact, Butusov admits that Ukrainian law enforcement system works in a specific, “liberalized” regime, led by, so to say, its own idea of party honour and revolutionary practicability.
That is, we deal not with isolated incidents, as we are assured by pretending to be the doves of peace Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, but with the totally conscious practice of illegal repressions and preventive violence.
The attempts to cover such practice will cost dearly for Ukraine itself. The country, in which the law enforcement bodies can randomly distribute sentences, torture, incarcerate for many months in detention centers without even filing official charges, will never be able to clean up the act.
The outcomes of such cockiness we are witnessing now, when TV channel premises are being burnt down, all kinds of property raided, journalists and lawyers irrespectively of their patriotic sentiments assassinated, and all kinds of crime rampant.
This is why the workers of human rights protecting organizations, as well as the likes of Butusov, calling themselves journalists, should reflect on their own fate in conditions of the light version of justice they are trying to cover up.
Those, who sow the wind, will reap the whirlwind.
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