Ukrainian Political Prisoner Igor Dzhadan: During My Arrest I Was Beaten up by the SBU

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


On December 14th another hearing concerning the case of the 54-year-old doctor, publicist, and writer Igor Dzhadan, who is accused under a number of serious political articles, including Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – creating and leading a terrorist organisation, took place in the Dzerzhinsky district court of the city of Kharkov.

The court once again prolonged the measure of restraint in the form of detention imposed on Igor Dzhadan for another 2 months. In total he has been in a pre-trial detention center without an alternative for 3.5 years.

During the last several hearings the court heard about 10 prosecution witnesses. According to Igor Dzhadan, more than a half of them saw him for the first time.

As a reminder, Dzhadan was detained by unknown persons on April 29th, 2015 in Kharkov at the exit of the hospital where he worked as a doctor. During detention he was beaten up. After having his freedom illegally restricted for three weeks, on May 21st Igor Dzhadan was brought for interrogation in the SBU on a stretcher in an ambulance, after which he was detained. Then the investigative judge elected for him a measure of restraint in the form of detention. Dzhadan’s case has been left without a verdict for more than 3.5 years.

We publish the full text of the interview with Igor Dzhadan, during which he spoke in detail about the charges, the course of consideration of his case, the moment of his detention, and also about his state of health and the conditions of keeping in the pre-trial detention center.

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The video interview is available on the “Uspishna Varta” YouTube channel.

You aren’t brought for judgement, even when you are brought to the courtroom, correct?

“From the 3 times this week, during 2 times I wasn’t even taken to the courtroom. Today is the first time. In essence, the measure of restraint will be extended. And this repeats every 2 months.”

I.e., you are brought out only for the extension of the measure of restraint?

“In the last 2 months witnesses began to come, and half of them stated that they were seeing me for the first time.”

And how many witnesses in total are there concerning your case?

“About 10 people from the prosecution.”

And you are brought to witnesses who haven’t see you before, just so that your measure of restraint is extended?

“Half of the witnesses stated that they saw me for the first time. The other half stated that I told them some ‘tales’, but didn’t demand anything, didn’t call to commit illegal actions, didn’t take weapons, and so on.”

How is your health?

“Average. I will say this: I am not young, being 54-years-old makes itself felt. Bronchial asthma of course becomes aggravated in connection with such conditions of keeping, and infections, which are plentiful in prison. And respectively, it is extremely difficult to receive treatment on the spot. There are no medicines, doctors don’t come, and analyses aren’t made. I spent 3.5 years asking for an x-ray to be done. Fluorography was done on me, but only after the intervention of the ‘Red Cross’.”

You are a medical employee?

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“Yes, I am a doctor. And I fully understand the ins and outs.”

How long have you already spent in prison?

“A measure of restraint was defined and imposed on me on May 21st, 2015. Before this I was illegally detained without a defined measure of restraint for 3 more weeks. I was hidden and kept in hospital under guard without legal grounds.”

As far as we are aware, you suffered during detention. Correct?

“I was beaten up. The abductors called themselves ‘Right Sector‘. They refused to show any ID. They said that they were not from the SBU, though in fact it later became clear that they were employees of the SBU. They drove me in an unknown direction with a bag on my head. They beat me up within an inch of my life. In a state close to comatose they brought to a hospital and kept me there under a false name. Afterwards I was kept chained by handcuffs for 3 weeks there. Respectively, I received treatment under a false name. But then I demanded that my real name was given and to invite a lawyer. But the lawyer and my relatives weren’t informed. When my relatives tried to find my location, they were told that they don’t know such a person.”

What article is imputed to you?

“The main article is 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine – creating and leading a terrorist organisation. Plus storage of weapons and separatism.”

If you created a terrorist organisation, you must have accomplices?

“Yes, I had 2 ‘accomplices’ who were exchanged with the ‘DPR’ and LPR’ a year ago. But I wasn’t sent for an exchange.”

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