Militia officers were sentenced to imprisonment for beating detainees, one of whom was HIV-positive
Intentional detention of an innocent person, psychological pressure and beating, accusation of thefts, which he did not commit... For more than two years Maria Kaminska, a lawyer of Ukrainian Network for assistance to HIV-positive people and drug addicts, defended the victim of militiamen. Finally, the court acknowledged: the law enforcement officers deliberately taunted the sick person, about whose state they were aware.
If L., a Lviv dweller, knew that night what would be the result of his wish to drink some beer with his friend, he would abandon it. The guys’ plan to relax failed. They were detained when they came out of the basement, where they went because of natural needs as there were no public toilets. This happened in early December 2011.
Militiamen did not draw up the administrative record or a warning, because the guys had no documents. They were taken to the police station, where they stayed until the morning. In the morning militia officers gave them the register and demanded to confirm the absence of claims, and the detained signed the statement. But then one of the officers understood that one of the released was a person under the administrative supervision. The militiamen changed their mind and transferred the guys to the district militia station. Mother of the detained and his lawyer were not informed about the detention. And when she learned about this from witnesses, officers of the district station denied this information.
When the friends were separated, one of them managed to escape. But the detained L. remained in militia, and law enforcers continued to force him to confess to the theft, to which he had no relation. He was transported from one district station to another; militia officers were beating him with hands, feet, wooden stick, and stripped him naked. Four law enforcers took part in the humiliation – three militiamen from the district station and a major, deputy chief of the Shevchenkyvskyi district militia department. As a result, the detainee agreed to sign the confession. He did not read the documents he signed because of fatigue, hunger and pain. At one of the ‘crime scenes’ militia officers called his mother and offered to bring some drugs and cloth for her son. The woman brought new clothes – his old, dirty sweater remained at the militia station. This sweater will become an evidence that the person was illegally detained and stayed in custody without legal registration for a long time.
Following the submission of several complaints about the loss of L., the lawyer, through informal channels, managed to learn where L. was kept – in the station of another district. The lawyer also found the opportunity to get to the militia station and released L.
After the release the victim could walk only several meters and then lost his consciousness. L. suffered from hepatitis C and HIV, and, after three days of torture, without necessary medicines and normal food, he was taken by ambulance to hospital, where he spent a week. Doctors and medical experts found numerous bruises and hematoma, which were classified as minor bodily injuries.
Despite the fact that the militia officers pleaded not guilty, on 28 May 2014 the Shevchenkivskiy district court sentenced them to a real punishment. The result of L.’s medical examination, testimonies of the second detainee, lawyer and plaintiff’s mother, and the clothes left at the district police station were presented to the court. After reviewing all the evidence, the court convicted four law enforcement officers for the abuse of power and illegal deprivation of liberty.
All four militia officers were deprived of their ranks and the right to work in law enforcing organs for some time, and were sentenced to imprisonment. Maximum term in the form of five years' imprisonment was given to the deputy chief of the district department, who, according to the conclusions of the court, directed the actions of his subordinates. The convicted still have the right to appeal.
Станислав Ежи Лец