Police officers dismissed over death of Vera Kozlovska

An article today in the newspaper “Sevodnya” notes that the Kirovske Police Station greets people with a poster reading “Human Rights are paramount for a police officer”. Kirovske has been shaken by the death of 55-year-old Vera Kozlovska whose body was found on the road on 14 February and the dismissals of 5 police officers believed to be implicated in her death.

A day before she died, Vera Kozlovska phoned a good friend and asked if she could lend her 30 thousand UAH [a bit less than 3 thousand euros]. The friend explains that she spoke calmly however said that she had big problems and urgently needed money.  She did not receive the money, and the next day her body was found. Although the autopsy report spoke of a heart attack, at her funeral already there was talk  that police officers had been extorting money from her.

It would seem that the rumours were not unfounded. Five police officers are suspected of implication in her death. They allegedly demanded 18 thousand UAH for not initiating a criminal investigation against her son, supposedly suspected of selling drugs. “Sevodnya” quotes the Head of the Press Service of the Donetsk Regional Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ihor Dyomin:  “The material from the case has been passed to the Prosecutor’s Office. Three police officers of the region and two officers from the Donetsk Railway Police are under suspicion. We are already preparing an order to have our officers dismissed. Incidentally one of the suspects was already dismissed in 2008, but in December last year a court reinstated him. Only two months passed, and he was back to his old habits”.

The newspaper says that the Prosecutor’s Office has for two days been refusing to say anything about the case. It also reports that this is by no means the only such occasion of abuse.

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