Russian news agency RIA Novosti published a story about the “Library” – the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) secret prison and its horrors, based on ex-prisoner testimony and documents.
The photographs and testimonies give a very unique glimpse in the inner workings of Ukrainian liberalism and democracy.
Ukrainian citizens in the prison are subject to the following: jumper cables connected to their genitals, torture via chainsaw, spending a night in a pit filled with corpses.
“It’s hard to believe that this isn’t a horror film, but true torture, which takes place in Ukraine in the 21st century,” the outlet reported.
The current article is the first of a series that will be published by RIA, all of which based on testimonies and documents, about what is happening in the “Library.”
Usually Donetsk People’s Republic supporters are sent there, only suspected and not even found guilty of “separatism.”
In March, in Moscow, at the headquarters of the Rossiya Segodnya media, former SBU lieutenant colonel Vasily Prozorov told reporters about a secret prison at Mariupol airport, the so-called Library. Those who went through these prisons themselves supplemented and confirmed the information provided by Porozov.
“When I saw pictures of this corridor on TV (which Prozorov showed), I got goosebumpbs. These plastic doors … I sit and whisper: “Mom, but my camera,” – said a resident of Mariupol, Tatyana Ganzha. “The corridor is light, with many plastic doors. I realized that it was a fridge … a terrible place,” she continued.
Ganzha spent ten days at the Mariupol airport and did not think that she would ever see her prison from the outside, and even on TV. She was a member of the Communist Party of Ukraine, now banned. She participated in protest rallies in Mariupol, and then in the May 11th referendum on the future of the Donetsk region. In October 2014, Azov Battalion detained her – Tatyana had no idea that she was blacklisted as a terrible separatist.
“I spent exactly ten days at the airport – from October 30th until the evening of November 8th. There are notches even in one cell,” she recalls.
In order not to go crazy and to somehow tell how much time had passed, the prisoners marked days on the walls of the cells with stripes. Tatyana saw seven or eight elephants there on the wall – apparently somebody with a creative nature had spent time in the prison. After she was let out, Ganzha, discussing the elephants with her brothers and sisters in misfortune, she met the one who painted them – Natalia Mjakota.
“It turns out I was in your cell – I saw these elephants,” she told Natalia.
Tatyana described the prison as “a true hell, a place of death.”
“I cannot put into words all of the horrors. The bridge of my nose is broken and I can’t hear in my left ear. Indeed, it is painful to recall. I will not retell everything … But this is a little boy who drove me to the toilet down that corridor, told me that “two days before you were here the girl was beaten to death, she was also named Tatyana,” she recalled.
The torturers constantly threatened Tatyana with a pit or moat where they threw corpses. They hinted that she would soon add to their numbers, then they promised to subject her to psychological torture when they throw the still-living prisoner to the corpse pit.
According to her, hundreds were thrown in that pit, and that people were being sent there to die even before she was arrested.
Only on November 8th, 2014, she was taken from the airport to the Security Service of Ukraine – for investigative actions. Released by exchange between Ukraine and the DPR on December 26th, 2014. Since then, she lives in Donetsk in one of the hostels for refugees from the Ukrainian territory. Her house in Mariupol was plundered by the Azov Battalion.
“Comrades from the” Azov” took me out of the house (in Mariupol) and they took all of my belongings – even the heating system, windows, doors.”
Porozov further added that members of the “volunteer battalions” sent home as gifts any household appliances, including microwaves and whatnot to their homes.
Olga Seletskaya was detained on August 29th, 2014 in the city center by the Azov Battalion. She spent a day in the secret prison. The next day she was transferred to the SBU. The protocol was issued on August 30th, moreover, according to the document, Seletskaya was allegedly removed from a bus in the suburbs of Mariupol.
“There (at the airport) – I was placed without registration. I was threatened, that they could bring my family, husband, children, and torture them before my eyes. They intimidated, broke people morally and physically. But when they are brought to the Security Service of Ukraine, they are already making fake documents there … As if they had just been detained. For example, as in my case, they allegedly took me off the bus. And where I was before that day was unknown. It seemed as if I had collapsed in space, disappeared,” Seletskaya said.
According to her, one of the most popular tortures among torturers is to drown in a barrel or to torture with a wet rag.
A rag is placed on the person who is lying there and is slowly watered. The person begins to choke. It is basically waterboarding, what there were massive scandals in Guantanamo Bay back in the day.
“Water enters the lungs, you lose consciousness. They were interested in information about weapons, where the money is located,” she said.
Olga remembered the call sign of the two torturers – the Butcher and the Doctor.
“It was sophisticated torture. I had the chance to communicate with other victims. As we were called – “books”. And the place of our containment is the “library”. I was told about the brutal torture, about what was happening there … I saw many in the basement of the SBU, who also passed through the Mariupol airport … People were beaten up and crippled. I heard that they did not return after interrogations,” she testified.
Separately, Lieutenant Colonel Prozorov was recognized by a well-known journalist in Donetsk, the editor-in-chief of the Municipal Newspaper, Elena Bloha.
On August 2nd, 2014, she was detained at a checkpoint near the village of Mangush in the suburbs of Mariupol: the journalist with her son and driver drove along the usual road to Crimea, without even thinking that the road was controlled by the Azov Battalion, and Bloch herself had long been blacklisted for unbiased coverage of events in Donetsk.
“I was stupefied when I saw Prozorov’s press conference – after all, he participated in my detention! I remembered him very well,” Elena told RIA.
She described those events, as well as impressions of the airport in the book “90 Days in Captivity”, although it still exists only in electronic form.
The UN itself noted 16 cases of people illegally being detained and tortured in the “Library.”
What is happening in Mariupol airport, and in other secret prisons in Ukrainian territory, has constantly come under the attention of the UN Monitoring Mission on the Observance of Human Rights in Ukraine (OHCHR), and was recorded in the reports of the mission.
As the head of the mission Fiona Frazer told RIA Novosti that in five years “several hundred cases of arbitrary detention and/or incommunicado detention and related human rights violations and abuses (such as torture and cruel treatment) by both the government of Ukraine and the armed groups of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic. ”
In particular, OHCHR has documented 16 cases of arbitrary detention and/or interrogation of persons at the airport in Mariupol.
“They all date back to 2014, 2015, and the first half of 2016. The shortest period of detention was several hours, the longest one month,” said Fraser.
The General Prosecutor’s Office of the DPR is investigating nine criminal cases.
The Prosecutor General’s Office of the DPR, and specifically its Investigative Department is investigating nine criminal cases opened on the grounds of part 1 of Article 427 of the DPR Criminal Code (“Use of prohibited means and methods of warfare”).
Following are photographs of detainees that were just released from the “Library” when the photograph was taken:
Finally, another curious proof of the existence of a secret prison at the airport, as well as the SBU’s attempts to hide it, is a document from the SBU.
The document, according to the RIA article will be published in the 2nd part of the story, soon.
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