Rights Group Condemns Police Abuse in Ukraine

Posted October 12th, 2011 at 6:35 pm (UTC-5)
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Amnesty International says Ukrainian police routinely torture and abuse detainees in their custody.

The London-based group is urging Ukraine's government to set up an independent body to investigate such crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.

In a report issued Wednesday, Amnesty says hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are beaten and mistreated while in police custody, forced to admit to crimes they have not committed. Some people have died during detention under suspicious circumstances.

The report says officers who torture and mistreat detainees never face disciplinary action, and prosecutors often fail to address the victims' complaints.

Amnesty's expert on Ukraine, Heather McGill, says 20 years after the demise of the Soviet Union, the Ukrainian police are still serving the state instead of the public. She says there is a prevailing culture of impunity and corruption that must be addressed.

But she says the public is less tolerant of abuse and is demanding more accountability from the police.