News / Europe

Amnesty: Abduction, Torture Rampant in Eastern Ukraine

Amnesty: Abduction, Torture Are Rampant in Eastern Ukrainei
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 11, 2014 10:21 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International says dozens of people in eastern Ukraine have been abducted and tortured by armed pro-Russian separatist groups in recent months. Ukrainian government forces are also accused of abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Amnesty: Abduction, Torture Are Rampant in Eastern Ukraine
Henry Ridgwell

Human rights group Amnesty International says dozens of people in eastern Ukraine have been abducted and tortured by armed pro-Russian separatist groups in recent months. Ukrainian government forces are also accused of abuses.
 
Several weeks after she was abducted and tortured, pro-Ukrainian activist Hannah still wears bandages to treat her wounds.

She was kidnapped from her Donetsk apartment by pro-Russian separatists and taken away blindfolded. Hannah describes what happened.

“My face was smashed,” she said. “They was trying to beat me everywhere, I was covering myself with my hands. Then they cut my hands and legs with a knife.”

Hannah describes how she was forced to write a separatist slogan on the wall in her own blood.

She says, “The man who was brutalizing me said ‘write with your blood on the wall: I love Donbas'. And he said you can't do this, if you run out of blood, I will shoot you.”

Hannah’s harrowing account is far from unique, according to Amnesty International. Researcher Denis Krivosheev has documented dozens of allegations of torture by separatist groups in eastern Ukraine.

“Mostly, it’s pro-Ukrainian activists - those who insisted that the east is part of Ukraine, who wanted to use Ukrainian flags, who wanted to use Ukrainian flags, shout Ukrainian symbols," Krivosheev said. "They were the ones targeted primarily. But also people who were involved with the presidential elections on 25th May, members of electoral committees, observers. Also, journalists.”

Amnesty says there is an increasing number of pro-Ukrainian activists escaping the east and arriving in the capital Kyiv.

Sasha says he was abducted after attending pro-Kyiv protests in Luhansk last month.

“They told me goodbye they were going to kill me," he said. "One guy with a gun put it to my head and said to go straight to the corridor and don't say anything. Whilst I was walking through the corridor, armed people who were there told me ‘goodbye, they are going to kill you now’.”

Amnesty says many of the alleged kidnap and torture victims are only now coming forward after being freed by Ukrainian forces.

In recent days the Ukrainian military has made territorial gains - forcing pro-Russian separatists from their strongholds in Slovyansk and Kramatorsk. But both Ukrainian government troops and pro-Kyiv activists also stand accused of carrying out abductions and torture - though on a much smaller scale.

Ukraine’s government must end the culture of impunity, says Amnesty’s Denis Krivosheev.

“All over Ukraine, police have been a force whose members have been regularly abusing people’s rights with impunity," said Krivosheev. "And if Kyiv authorities are really intent on reinstating the rule of law and putting the house in order, this is where they need to start.”

Justice may have to wait while the conflict goes on. Pro-Russian separatists are reinforcing their positions in Donetsk and Luhansk. Analysts say any battle for control of those cities would likely cost many lives.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sunday pope from: Monrovia
July 12, 2014 12:49 AM
So sad Let god Have Mercy upon Us human.

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 11, 2014 8:39 PM
So Ukrainian forces are freeing people from pro-Russian barabrians, but the pro-Russian barabrians are doing this for freedom. I'm confused?
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 12, 2014 8:24 PM
Sorry, should have elaborated a little more. The pro-Russians are fighting for freedom of the Ukraine oppressive government. But, the pro-Russians are oppesssing people, i.e., abducting, torturing, God know what else! In other words, the pro-Russians are doing things that they were fighting against. That's the confusion. But not actually confused. More of a little sarcasm for all the 'pro-Russian rebel' morons that were commenting on this site about this issue. You were the only one to respond, thanks.

OK, all you 'pro-Russian rebel' defenders, where ya at????

Anyone reading these comments, you will notice that none are from the 'pro-Putin loving' 'pro-rebel defending' idiots that were justifying this conflict to begin with. WHERE ARE THEY???
In Response

by: Don Taco from: Elswhere
July 12, 2014 2:12 AM
Luv the name. Confused about the msg.

by: Peter from: Singapore
July 11, 2014 3:31 PM
Battle to control cities costs many lives that is a very good idea. Democracy need to improve the economy and living standard but not to produce hatre and to destroy the development of the country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs