Amnesty International urges Kiev to officially recognize existence of ‘SBU secret prisons’

The Government of Ukraine must recognize the facts of illegal detention of people and the existence of secret detention centers of the Security Service of the country, the human rights organization Amnesty International (Ukraine) stated on Monday, March 20.

According to Amnesty International, victims of arbitrary detention in Ukraine-controlled secret prisons in Donbass face new, serious obstacles to justice.

"Instead of addressing past injustices, the Ukrainian authorities are denying the truth, denying justice to victims, and stalling and obstructing effective and thorough investigation of these grave human rights violations. Instead of cornering themselves in this way, the Ukrainian authorities should take responsibility for these abuses and identify and bring those responsible for all aspects of the secret detentions to justice," director of Amnesty International Ukraine Oksana Pokalchuk was quoted as saying.

It is noted that almost two years after the human rights defenders’ report on cases of arbitrary detention and prolonged detention of people, these facts have not been properly investigated.

According to the report, at least five detainees held in secret facilities run by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) in 2015 and 2016 filed complaints against the authorities for their enforced disappearance, torture, and other ill-treatment used to extract forced confessions, and subsequent unlawful detention. An appeals court will issue a ruling on March 27, 2018, on an appeal of a complaint that had been dismissed.  

"The SBU leadership never acknowledged the detentions or releases and has continued to deny secretly detaining civilians, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and others," the human rights defenders report.

"People held for months in Ukraine’s secret detention sites endured serious abuse,” said Tanya Cooper, Ukraine researcher at Human Rights Watch. "Almost two years later, facing a wall of denial from the authorities, they are as far from justice as when they were detained."  

Earlier, international human rights organizations Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International announced the release of 13 people from a secret prison of the Security Service of Ukraine. The SBU denied information about the existence of secret prisons under its department.

DONi News Agency