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Wednesday, 9 October, 2002, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Ukraine police accused of torture
Ukrainian police arrest a suspect
Police routinely use physical violence, the report says
Police in Ukraine are accused of interrogation methods including electric shocks, burns and hanging people by their arms or legs, human rights investigators have been told.

A special report from the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) criticises police for their harsh methods.

Researchers who visited Ukraine say they heard numerous allegations of ill-treatment by the police, most involving kicks, punches and truncheon blows.

But the committee said it also heard allegations of electric shocks, asphyxiation with masks or bags, burns using cigarette lighters and suspension by the legs or arms.


In numerous cases such bad treatment is akin to torture

CPT report
The report said that in many cases the alleged ill-treatment was severe enough to be considered as torture.

The committee said that, in response to the findings, the Ukrainian Government had promised to reform police recruitment procedures and reinforce police training.

The report was based on visits carried out between 1998 and 2000 by researchers including psychiatric and legal experts.

President Leonid Kuchma
Ukrainian leaders have pledged to improve police training
Allegations included the use of rifle butts, cigarette burns or placing plastic bags or masks over detainees' heads, the committee said.

Others were allegedly beaten while tied up or suspended by their feet or arms. Some reported blows to the soles of the feet.

"In numerous cases such bad treatment is akin to torture," the report said.

The conditions in which suspects are held are also attacked as "unacceptable".

The experts found suspects with inadequate washing and cleaning facilities, in overcrowded cells with inadequate lighting and sometimes no beds. In one place, researchers found 10 people sharing a cell measuring 15 square metres (yards).

Most detainees were relying on relatives and friends to feed them.

And many suspects were being held for longer than the legal limit of 10 days.

The CPT has the right under a European convention to enter custody centres in 44 members of the Council of Europe at any time to prevent torture.

See also:

12 Feb 01 | Europe
29 Sep 02 | Country profiles
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