Mother of Maksim Nitsenko: “The SBU Tortured My 16-Year-Old Son”

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Journalists of the Ukrainian oppositional newspaper “Golos Pravdy” were given the letter of the mother of Maksim Vitalyevich Nitsenko (DoB: 05.06.1998).

According to the woman, Maksim was subjected to torture by employees of the SBU – the international Red Cross and OSCE were already informed about it:

“Maksim was detained on March 18th, 2015, due to a pre-planned provocation by SBU employees,” it is said in the letter. “The provocateur — Zakhar Songulashvili, born in 1994, resident of Izium, previously convicted — manipulated the consciousness of the 16-year-old. He met him on the social network ‘VKontakte’, invited the teenager to a meeting, intimidating him by threats of violence towards him and his family; presented to him dummy explosive devices (manufactured by the SBU using household soap wrapped in duct tape)”.

The provocateur provided a car, took Maksim to a railway bridge in Izium:

“The provocateur (aka a recruited agent of the SBU) planted dummy explosive devices under the supports of the railway bridge”.

The woman is sure that the teenager wasn’t able to understand the situation because of his age:

“Immediately after the planned provocation of the SBU, Maksim was subjected to powerful psychological and physical violence. He was beaten and cruelly tortured with electro-shockers, and was hung up and beaten using water-filled bottles on the head, legs, and kidneys. They put a gun to his head, squeezing the trigger and threatening to kill him. The torture and humiliation began at the SBU of Izium and continued in the SBU of Kharkov”.

Maksim’s mother was informed about his detention 12 hours later. The interrogation was carried out without the presence of his parents or a lawyer, with the aim of “knocking out” a confession:

“On March 27th, 2015, Maksim wrote a complaint in the presence of a lawyer to the Military Prosecutor of the Kharkov region concerning the illegal actions of the SBU officers, but an investigation was not carried out. In connection with his detention, from 18th March, 2015, his chronic disease aggravated, a serious kidney disease was diagnosed, caused by poor conditions of detention, and after torture”.

The state of health of the teenager is constantly deteriorating:

“Medical care is not provided, treatment is not given! In this case his right to life under Article 27 of the Constitution of Ukraine is violated. The minor child repeatedly mentioned in the courtroom the deterioration of his health”.

The Izium district court repeatedly rejected the claims of the lawyer for the appointment of a medical examination:

“On April 4th, 2016, the Izium district court made a decision on conducting a complete medical examination in pre-trial detention centre No. 27 in Kharkov. The court decision has still not been implemented. On 25th August, 2016, the Izium district court made another decision on the appointment of a forensic medical examination, having entrusted its implementation to the experts of the Kharkov regional bureau of forensic medical examinations. The decision of the court also hasn’t been implemented.”

Maksim’s mother repeatedly appealed to the head the detention center No. 27 in Kharkov about the lack of medical care, and that the medicine she purchased for her son wasn’t transferred to him.

According to human rights activists in the courtroom, “the provocateur from the SBU” was wearing a mask:

“Also, a substitution of the witness was made. It turned out that the provocateur had previously been convicted. Unfortunately, provocations in Izium are on a conveyor belt. On 4th April, 2016, this provocative scheme was used on another person – Andrey Alekseevich Degtyarev (49 years old). He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Moreover, it was the same provocateur involved with Maksim — Zakhar Songulashvili”.

To this day there has been no verdict. The court case is being dragged out because of the inability of the prosecution to present a strong enough case against Maksim Nitsenko.

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