Torture in Ukraine: Who will talk about the abuse of a “Russian saboteur”

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The first part of this story can be found here.

Torture in Ukraine: Who will talk about the abuse of a "Russian saboteur"

Darya Mastikasheva

Original by Ekaterina Sazhneva published by Moskovskiy Komsomolets; Translated by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

The 30-year-old Darya Mastikasheva is now labeled a “Russian saboteur #1” in Ukraine. She’s one of the most, if not the most, famous political prisoners here. Three days ago MK published an article about Dasha and how she fell into SBU hands.

Right after our publication, without any trial or investigation, she was taken from investigative detention and sent to a psychiatric hospital. Supposedly for a mandatory evaluation. But nobody knows where or why. On the eve of another “Minsk” Darya’s relatives are begging international human rights groups to intervene and save her. They are afraid they’ll never see her again.

“Does Europe really not notice that Ukraine is officially torturing undesirables? Against detainees whom they call “Moscow agents” without any evidence. If this were happening in Russia, the whole world would be creaming about it, but here someone is sent to some unknown place and everyone keeps quiet, as if it were the right thing to do”, says Sergey Sokolov, Darya’s husband.

The three-time taekwondo champion Darya Mastikasheva became a “Russian terrorist” almost by accident. After she went to Dnepropetrovsk to visit her mother in August to help her prepare her 10 year old son for school. There, on someone’s orders the Right Sector kidnapped her, tortured her, did whatever they wanted. And then, beaten up, was “delivered” to the SBU.

Dasha herself has had a Russian residence permit for the last two years, but was not able to bring her relatives over. But Dasha got married to Sergey Sokolov, who is well known in certain circles because he was the head of security to Boris Berezovskiy and even today he searches out and publishes sensational scoops.

Sergey believes that Dasha was arrested because of him. She was easier to get. Sokolov is currently one of the main witnesses in the Russian investigation of the murder of the former Duma deputy Denis Voronenkov, shot in Kiev in March. Sergey gave all available information to the investigators concerning the alleged instigators and executors of the murder, the members of Dnepropetrovsk mafia and also the top echelon of Ukrainian elite and the infamous oligarch Igor Kolomoysky.

SBU officially announced that Darya Mastikasheva, a citizen of Ukraine, sold herself to Russia and planned sabotage, but for some reason the actual plan was very complicated because the explosions were to be staged by Ukrainian soldiers on Russian territory. “The main invention of Russian intelligence services is the unwitting use of Ukrainian anti-terror operation (ATO) troops as cover for their operations,” the head of SBU Vasiliy Gritsak is categorical.

Gritsak believes Darya Mastikasheva recruited Ukrainians to go to Moscow, perform acts of terrorism, then surrender to the FSB thus implicating Independent Ukraine.

The very recent Minsk meeting finally made it possible to reach an agreement on a prisoner exchange between Kiev, Lugansk, and Donetsk.

One of the names on this long list is Dasha’s. She was not about to keep quiet about what was happening, she sent photos of herself bearing the signs of banned torture from detention through a lawyer, she was also ready to talk about who kidnapped her and how these people are tied to Ukrainian intelligence.

“SBU evidently didn’t want to let it happen. It would have meant Ukraine does not observe any international conventions and do whatever they want, not only with Dasha but with everyone,” says Sokolov. Darya had to be silenced. Before she could testify.

There were two ways: physical liquidation which would be difficult because Dasha was written about many times, including in Ukrainian media, and nobody would have believed in suicide. Option 2 was to declare her mentally ill, sent for mandatory testing to a psychiatric hospital, then do whatever they could to ensure she’d never talk again…Psychiatrists have many ways of doing that.

“On November 24, Friday, SBU took Dasha from detention supposedly to court where she was appealing. But she never got there…She was instead sent to Dnepropetrovsk Clinical Psychiatric hospital and forcibly committed to Department 15. They had no right to do that without a court order,” Sokolov can’t contain his emotions. “Her lawyers were told the case is being moved. Nobody knew anything. All her things were still in the cell. But later in the day the detention center cancelled her detainee ID.”
Human rights defenders were not allowed to see her. Nobody explained the illegal hospitalization. It’s only known she’s in a monitored room and is being actively medicated.

Sulfazine, perhaps? One injection causes mad pain for 2-3 days, high fever, thirst, but they won’t let you drink. That’s what drug addicts say about it after being forcibly treated with it. “One can view it as torture, in order to break will. One can also inject gaseous oxygen. With a thick needle into the leg or shoulder blade region”, a medical technician described punitive treatment to MK. “One feels like your skin is being ripped off. Sometimes drug users are being intimidated this way, the procedure itself takes 2-3 minutes, because neither the victims nor the medics can take more of it.”

One could also use other drugs. A week of shock does, then withdrawal. Guaranteed loss of sanity after a few months.

“The reason why SBU sent her to this hell, with impunity, is simple–they want to extract a confession that Dasha is a Moscow spy, and also turn her into a vegetable, someone truly insane, so that she could never tell who did what to her, never testify in a future Nuernberg, which I am certain will sooner or later happen,” Sokolov said.

He says there are only a couple of days left to take Dasha out of the clinic, that is by putting the question of Ukraine’s use of torture and punitive psychiatric measures on the agenda at the next Minsk meeting. On Wednesday.

Comment from Maria Bast, the chair of the Russian Lawyers Association for Human Rights:

–We’ve been collecting materials on Ukrainian torture since 2013. All the complaints and statements have been analyzed by specialists to establish their veracity and reliability, and received an independent evaluation. These data were rechecked by us, they have been confirmed by citizens in Ukrainian prisons and detention facilities, their relatives, and by the victims who were released as well as refugees who managed to cross the border to literally save their lives and their childrens’ lives. On the basis of this information we have come to the conclusion that Ukrainian government has created the conditions for violating the norms of international humanitarian law, facilitated the mass violation of human rights and freedoms. One should also draw the attention to the International Convention against Forcible Disappearances form 2006 that has not been ratified by Ukraine.

In 2011, on the basis of available information, Ukrainian human rights defenders have noted that someone is subjected to torture in Ukraine once every 40 minutes.

One should also note that the report prepared by our specialists was accepted by the UN Committee Against Torture in March 2016, and that a special commission was formed at the UN which during its visit to Ukraine in May 2016 received confirmation of the cases of torture mentioned in our report, including holding people in secret prisons.

This is clearly government policy. I have many questions concerning the murder of Pavel Sheremet. Or Oles Buzina. Officially, death penalty has been banned, it’s difficult to put such people on trial, therefore it’s tempting to eliminate such undesirables using other means.

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