Sunday, 21 March 2010

Police brutality in broad daylight

Residents of 9 Lesi Ukrainky Boulevard said they were attacked by police on March 14, leaving two women wounded. The authorities reportedly detained six people. The victims called the attack unprovoked.

“Next to our building there is a new high-rise development, but that’s not the problem. Beside the construction ground a fence had been taken down, leaving boards lying around, and we came to clean up in case our kids come out to play here,” said resident Oleksandr Vakulenko. “That’s when the police arrived. First they watched, and then started pulling [city] deputy Oleksandr Hudyma to the car, who was participating in the clean-up because he lives here!” Hudyma was released.
But later Berkut, a special police unit, arrived and roughed up those remaining residents, including women, and broke a shop window for no reason, Vakulenko said.
District police spokeswoman told Segodnya newspaper that officers did nothing wrong. “We did not exceed our authority. People behaved liked hooligans, resisted the militia and broke a shop window,” police spokeswoman Yulia Mustash told Segodnya. The newspaper quoted her as saying the six detainees will remain in custody until their case is heard in court.
Just three days earlier, the U.S. State Department released its annual human rights report criticizing Ukraine yet again for "serious police abuse, beatings and torture of detainees and prisoners."

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