Allegations of torture in Kyiv remand unit

Lawyers representing Yury Beketov, a remand prisoner in the Kyiv SIZO [pre-trial detention or remand unit] have stated at a press conference in Kyiv that their client has not been provided with medical care which, according to European Court of Human Rights case law, can be deemed a form of torture.

According to lawyer I. Mohyla, Mr Beketov, who suffers from a severe form of omphalocele, alleged that police officers had inflicted bodily injuries before he was remanded in the SIZO. The lawyer accordingly applied to the investigator for a forensic medical examination with this establishing light bodily injuries. “In my view, the forensic medical assessment was neither objective nor full and I therefore lodged an application for an addition forensic medical opinion, since Yury Beketov complained of serious pain in the area of the navel which appeared after he was beaten, being kicked around the navel opening.” Mr Mohyla adds that to date no such check has been carried out, and his complaints have only been given formal consideration.

He says that the lawyers, together with their client’s relatives, managed to get Yury Beketov hospitalized in a special unit of the ambulance service hospital. He adds that since his client has been in the SIZO, he has been in that hospital twice but has not received an adequate amount of medical care. “He didn’t get medical help for the simple reason that if he had been operated on, there could have been adverse consequences and the reason for the operation could have been established.” According to Oleh Veremeyenko, another lawyer, Yury Beketov was discharged too early since if, in accordance with a Ministry of Health Order, he had been in hospital with such injuries 21 days, a criminal investigation would have been initiated against a police officer over his injuries.

The lawyers also stated that the ambulance doctors called to Yury Beketov during the court hearing had recommended immediate hospitalization and an operation due to a high temperature and the wound having become septic. This advice was ignored, as was a repeat recommendation after a second call for ambulance care during the next court hearing on 29 October. 

Having exhausted domestic legal remedies, the lawyers applied to the European Court of Human Rights which, on 30 October, stated that the Ukrainian authorities must immediately transfer the application to a hospital or similar. According to the lawyers’ information, even this has not yet been enforced.

The Head of the Kyiv SIZO, Serhiy Starenky, however, asserts that Yury Beketov has been provided with all necessary medical help established by legislation. He says that at Yury Beketov’s request they had tried to have him hospitalized, however the doctors had refused to do this. He asserts that they have doctors’ reports which state that the wound should be treated with ointment and dressings, and that nowhere is an operation mentioned.  He also says that after receiving the instruction from the European Court of Human Rights, the SIZO administration again suggested that Yury Beketov be hospitalized in the ambulance service hospital, however the latter refused, this, allegedly, being recorded on video.

Oleh Veremeyenko says that his client refused because he was offered hospital treatment in a place where he had twice not been treated properly, whereas the lawyers had asked that he be placed in City Hospital No. 6.


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