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Amnesty: Torture of POWs is Rife in Ukraine Conflict


Amnesty International said Friday it has "overwhelming evidence" that Ukrainian government forces, pro-government militias, and anti-government separatists are committing of "ongoing war crimes," including torture and summary killings of prisoners, and that such a buses are "widespread" and "frequent."

"Torture and severe acts are taking place, often by both sides of the conflict” in eastern Ukraine, said Denis Kryvisheev, deputy chief for Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia. “Methods are very different: people are beaten, imprisoned with hoods over their heads. Sometimes they are left like this for a long time. Sometimes they are hung from the ceiling using electro shockers," Kryvisheev said.

The London-based human right group released a report detailing information gatherered in interviews with former captives of both sides. It said "accounts of detainee torture are as commonplace as they are shocking."

Calls for investigation

Amnesty International Senior Crisis Response Adviser Joanne Mariner told VOA’s Russian Service it had seen “quite a lot of documentary and forensic evidence" confirming the accounts of the former capitves, including scars, bruises, x-rays, death certificates and autopsy reports.

Amnesty said some of the worst reports of torture involved the Right Sector militia, which is allied with Ukrainian government forces. It said Right Sector has reportedly held "dozens of civilian prisoners as hostages, brutally torturing them and extorting large amounts of money from them and their families."

Concern about prisoner mistreatment comes amid criticism of Ukraine's security services for publicly showing off two prisoners alleged to be Russian soldiers, captured while fighting alongside pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Amnesty called on Ukrainian authorities to investigate all allegations of war crimes and other abuses and bring to justice those responsible.

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