January 17, 2024, 18:52

Threats, intimidation, and torture: human rights activists shed light on the conditions in Kupiansk detention facilities where Ukraine citizens are being held

Russia’s torture and persecution methods against Ukrainian citizens in parts of Ukraine it occupied are systematic and widespread practices. Executions of captives are the enemy’s tool for extracting the necessary information. In particular, during the occupation of Kupiansk, Ukrainian citizens who were unlawfully held at the district police department detention center were subjected to both psychological and physical torture.

This was discussed during the presentation of analytical reports on the illegal detention of civilians in the Kupiansk district police department detention center and on Russian torture practices in the occupied communities at the Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. 

As Yelyzaveta Sokurenko, coordinator of the war crimes documentation department at ZMINA Human Rights Center, noted during the discussion, the detention of people in the Kupiansk detention center can be regarded as enforced disappearance, and the conditions of detention there can be qualified as torture.

“When it comes to the detention center, this place is adapted for people to stay in. However, the Russians have done everything possible to make the stay unbearable. We are talking about finding the minimum conditions of detention being far from complying with any standards. 24 prisoners could be held at the same time in an overcrowded cell designed to initially accommodate only four of them. Alarming unsanitary living conditions as some rooms had in-cell sanitation. This way only one toilet, one washbasin for 24 people to avail and some cells had scheduled toileting and water available in limited quantities,” said Yelyzaveta Sokurenko.

According to her, the detainees endured routine psychological torture, intimidation, and threats. In particular, occupiers were threatening families’ safety, threats of injury, threats to find relatives, bringing them to the detention center, and torturing them in the presence of the detainee. In addition, the occupiers used mock executions against the captives. 

Also, interrogations with the use of both physical and psychological torture were commonly used in the temporary detention center in Kupiansk. The most common physical torture was severe beatings and electric shocks, including sexualized abuse. Of the 29 direct victims, 19 were subjected to physical torture, and 18 were given electric shocks.

In addition, the human rights activist added, there are at least two cases of deaths of prisoners in the temporary detention center in Kupiansk reported. 

Currently, the Kupiansk detention center inmates have to deal with significant consequences for both their physical and mental health.

Read more: https://mediacenter.org.ua/news