“The Arm of a Prisoner Had Been Sawn Off”: A Former “Aidar” Militant Described the Battalion’s Torture Methods

Former “Aidar” militant, human rights defender, and journalist from the Lugansk region Yury Aseyev spoke about the torture that was practiced by the volunteer battalion in 2014.

He reported this in an interview with “Spektr”.

Aseyev recalls how he was once sent to interrogate a man who was detained on suspicion of separatism.

“The prisoner was the commander of the 9th militia company from Schastya. He was a local man who was captured with his son. I will never forget his last name: Neesh-papa. The staff officer wanted to get their names and send a group to detain them,” said Aseyev.

According to his words, after he told the prisoner to leave the cell, the man was unable to stand on his feet. At the same time, the conditions in which the detainee was held were far from humane.

“He says he can’t (come out) and lifts his pant leg. And there his bone is protruding. Everything is black around the bone. Around – completely unsanitary. He sits on the floor and his legs stretched forward. He says, ‘I can’t even stand up’. I asked if there was a doctor. There was nobody. I ask the sentry to call a doctor. I brought him some water. I asked if he was willing to name the people they gave weapons to. He agreed. But he needs a doctor. Another ones arrived too: allegedly, there was need to find out from Melnichuk whether it is possible for someone else to come in. While the commander was in Kiev…” added the human rights defender.

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Aseyev also said that the Ukrainian military planned to exchange the prisoner named Neesh-Papa for Nadezhda Savchenko. However, due to the serious condition of the detainee, he could not have lived long enough for an exchange without urgent medical care.

“They started to call Melnichuk, who was sitting on another talk show on TV. He wasn’t content. He snapped: ‘Well, everyone step away from him. No one approaches him until I get back’. Everyone dispersed. I stood, I looked, and yes, I left too. The next day, the prisoner died… That evening, my comrade and I just got back from the grocery store. And there is already a showdown: a drunken friend of the battalion commander finds out something. Then I was called. ‘Did you go to see that one?’ Yes, I did, and what? And he, it turns out, died,” said the former “Aidar” militant.

After this incident, Aseyev reported the incident to Melnichuk.

“The next day Melnichuk arrived, and I sharply expressed everything to him. Especially since I had previously heard that one of the prisoners had their hand cut off… I myself already heard someone yelling with a creepy voice in the basement, and the next day they said that he died. Is it true about the hand or not? I started to press him. He lost his nerves and I was locked in the basement myself,” said Aseyev.

Melnichuk later ordered Yury to be released from the basement. But he told him to leave the battalion.

According to Aseyev, it was he who prepared most of the Ukrainian report to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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“I wrote most of this appeal. In the process of processing the data, understanding all the details, I approached the director and said: ‘You know, I can’t pin the responsibility on the other side in any way. Well, in any way in general … Moreover, for all the episodes that we have analysed, we have examined all the details. Well, shit, Ukraine is anyway responsible,” he stated.

According to him, all these events should be evaluated, including criminal ones, but Ukraine in general does not like to think about such a perspective.

“Remember that ‘Lugansk air conditioner‘ or airstrikes on Stanitsa Luganskaya… It happened on July 2nd. The whole of Stanitsa was ploughed. This was done by Ukrainian aviation,” stressed the human rights defender.

As a reminder, the Grechesky Court recently released the detained former commander of the “Aidar” volunteer battalion Sergey Melnichuk at the request of the Russian Federation.

He was suspected of killing two people and setting up an illegal armed group. According to the Ukrainian “Strana” agency, the Russian Federation is pursuing Melnichuk in the case of Nadezhda Savchenko, who was sentenced for the murder of two Russian journalists in the summer of 2014.

Melnichuk himself dismisses the charges. He stated his position in an interview with “Strana”.

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