What You Need To Know:
✅ Advocacy groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch earlier reported that both sides of the military conflict in Donbas illegally detained and tortured civilians;
✅ According to their report, the SBU organized several secret prisons in Kramatorsk, Izum, Mariupol and Kharkiv;
✅ SBU officials denied all accusations. They stated there were no other places for detained people except for in the special isolation unit in Kyiv.
After months of pressure on Ukrainian authorities over the issue of illegal detentions and torture in prison by both international and national human rights groups, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch detailed the cases of 14 Ukrainians who were allegedly secretly imprisoned by the SBU, and have since been released.
Many of them claim to have been tortured while in captivity.
Mykola Vakaruk is 33 years old. He lives inUkrainsk, in the Donetsk region. He worked as a miner until 2009 when he was seriously injured. He was close to Viktor Ashyhin who was the head of commission during the referendum. Vakaruk was detained on December 9th, 2014.
“Ukraine is guilty before me right now,” says Vakaruk, who was held for 585 days in secret SBU prisons. He was brought to Krasnoarmiisk and later transferred to Kramatorsk to an SBU building.
“What they didn’t beat out of me got frostbitten, “ Vakar recounts.
After falling ill in March of 2015, he was sent to a hospital under the name of Serhiy Petrovych Ivanov. He returned to the detention center until his release on July 25th, 2016, where he was forced to sign an association agreement with the SBU, to make it seem as though he was legally working for them.
“I’m not a separatist, I’m standing for Ukraine. Ukrainians are wonderful.”
Hromadske spoke with Mykola Vakaruk to hear his very personal story.