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

    Video Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    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.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora