Annual Report: Ukraine 2013

May 29, 2013

Annual Report: Ukraine 2013

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  • On 5 January, police officer Serhiy Prikhodko received a five-year suspended sentence for abuse of office for causing the death of Ihor Indylo in police custody in Shevchenkivskiy police station in Kyiv in May 2010. A second police officer, Serhiy Kovalenko, had been amnestied in December 2011 on the basis that he had a young child. On 14 May, the Kyiv Appeal Court cancelled both the suspended sentence and the amnesty, and returned the case for further investigation. On 29 October the Kyiv Appeal Court again asked for additional investigation.
  • On 23 March, Ihor Zavadskiy, a celebrated accordion player, was detained in Kyiv and subjected to torture and other ill-treatment by police officers. He alleged that he was thrown to the ground outside his home and beaten by a group of plain-clothes police officers, who searched him, took his mobile phone, and searched his apartment without a warrant, and that he was then subjected to further torture and other ill-treatment at Shevchenkivskiy police station in Kyiv. Three police officers beat him and one of them squeezed his testicles causing extreme pain. At one point he lost consciousness when he was thrown to the ground, hitting his head on the floor. Police officers insisted on interrogating him without a lawyer; he did not see a lawyer until 27 March. He was subsequently charged with “violent unnatural gratification of sexual desire” and “debauchery of minors”. He lodged a complaint with the district prosecutor about the torture and other ill-treatment on 2 April. He was only informed on 3 July that a decision had been taken on 6 April not to start a criminal investigation into the torture allegations. The Shevchenkivskiy District Court overturned the prosecutor's decision on 31 July, and returned the case for additional investigation. At the end of the year there was no information about the progress of the investigation. The case against Ihor Zavadskiy was ongoing.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

Ukraine continued to breach its international human rights obligations under the UN Refugee Convention by complying with extradition requests even in cases where the individuals concerned were recognized refugees or asylum-seekers.

  • On 20 September, the Ukrainian authorities returned Ruslan Suleymanov to Uzbekistan, in violation of Ukraine's obligations under the UN Convention against Torture, and the UN Refugee Convention. He remained in pre-trial detention in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, at the end of the year. Ruslan Suleymanov had moved to Ukraine in November 2010, fearing an unfair trial, torture and other ill-treatment in Uzbekistan, after the construction company he worked for was targeted by rival business interests. He was detained in Ukraine on 25 February 2011, and in May 2011 the General Prosecutor's Office confirmed his extradition to Uzbekistan to stand trial for alleged economic crimes. Although his application for asylum in Ukraine was rejected, he had been recognized by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, as a refugee, and they were actively seeking his resettlement.
  • On 19 October, Leonid Razvozzhayev, a Russian citizen and aide to Russian opposition MP Ilya Ponomaryov, was reportedly abducted by Russian law enforcement officers in Kyiv from outside the offices of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society, where he had gone for legal assistance and advice in order to apply for asylum in Ukraine. On 22 October, Leonid Razvozzhayev alleged that he was subjected to torture or other ill-treatment upon his return to Russia to force him to incriminate himself and other opposition activists in planning mass disorder. On 25 October, a spokesman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs confirmed that Leonid Razvozzhayev had been abducted “by law enforcement officers or law enforcement officers of another state”. He stated that this was not a criminal matter, but “a matter of co-operation between law enforcement agencies, about which I know nothing.”

In June, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, noted that, despite the new 2011 Refugee Law, procedures and legislation still fell short of international standards. In particular, asylum-seekers, who are frequently undocumented, risked detention for up to 12 months for illegally staying in Ukrainian territory.