A 19-year-old student living in a Kyiv hostel has died in unexplained and very worrying circumstances. The Kyiv Police Department has claimed that he died in the Shevchenkivsky District Police Station after falling in a drunken state. There are however conflicting stories.
The Police Public Relations Department state that around 10 days ago the student, known only as Ihor, was celebrating his 20th birthday in the hostel where he was living. They assert that at around 8 in the evening he saw a friend from his part of the country off and “after returning to the hostel in a drunken state began causing a disturbance”.
The report goes on to assert that after some time, a police officer who is temporarily living in the hostel got involved and took him to the district police station, It says that the above-mentioned other person was there all the time. The report claims that “while in the police station, the student felt ill and he fell several times, as a result of which he received a skull and brain injury.”
The police say that a forensic examination found no evidence of a violent death and deny claims that Ihor died as the result of police actions.
On 26 May the news service of TV “1+1” reported that a police officer had taken the student to the police station. It said that the parents had been contacted in the morning and asked to collect their son’s body from the morgue. According to the TV report, the autopsy was carried out before the parents learned of their son’s death, and they did not get to see the body.
His mother also stated that they had been told that their son choked to death, yet when they arrived in Kyiv they were given the doctor’s report for the death certificate. That said that their son had been blood haemorrhaging in the brain tissue, skull fracture and injuries from a blunt object.
The Director of the college where Ihor was studying explained that about a year and a half earlier, at the request of the Head of the Shevchenkivsky District Police Station, the police officer had been accommodated in the hostel for the students’ protection.
Other students, according to the news service, say that Ihor had been visited by a school friend, that the two had drunk a bit to mark his coming birthday, and then Ihor saw his friend off. On the veranda the young men met the police officer, and an altercation followed. The police officer asked him to come to the police station, and he apparently agreed. Another student, Natalka, told the TV channel that Ihor had walked out of the hostel by himself and got into the back seat of the police officer’s car. That was the last time she saw him alive.
When the police officer returned at 21.30, the lecturers asked him to release the lad. The report states that the police officer refused saying that Ihor had been aggressive in the police station. He said that they would only release him in three days.
The television channel also reported that an ambulance had been called four times during that night, but that the doctors had refused to take him.
They reported that students had contacted them, saying that the police were putting pressure on students to say that there had been a fight and that Ihor already had head injuries when he got in the car.
Lawyers from the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union are in contact with Ihor’s relatives trying to ascertain what happened.