Ukrainian human rights activists believe that over 87 percent of Ukrainian soldiers and half the civilians who have been taken prisoner by Kremlin-backed, pro-Russian militants in the Donbas have been subjected to torture or ill treatment.
Additionally, in over 40 percent of the so-called "interrogations," key roles were played by mercenaries from the Russian Federation or by people who identified themselves as Russian military personnel.
The coalition Justice for Peace in Donbas has just released a report titled "Those Who Survived Hell." The study is based mainly on a survey of 165 people, both soldiers and civilians, who were held captive by the militants.
In many cases, even those who were not themselves tortured report witnessing or hearing the torture of others. One-third of the soldiers in the study, as well as 16 percent of the civilians, had personally witnessed a death as the result of torture.
Oleh Martynenko, one of the authors of the report, notes that the conditions in which prisoners and hostages are held do not meet any international standards. In two-thirds of the imprisonment sites, no medical care is available.
Disturbingly, however, the presence of medical staff is no guarantee of greater protection. The researchers found cases where medical workers had taken part in torture, by bringing the victim around in order for the torture to continue.
Martynenko says that the researchers had not anticipated the high ratio of mercenaries and Russian military personnel implicated in the torture of prisoners. This is grounds, he adds, for charging Russia with involvement in war crimes and other offenses—offenses that cannot fall under any "amnesty" currently promoted by Western leaders as part of a peace deal for the region.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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