Wednesday, November 29, 2023

I thought it was the end Ukrainians testify about horror of Kherson torture chambers

Torture chambers in Kherson. ©EdA

I thought it was the end Ukrainians testify about horror of Kherson torture chambers According to figures from the Ukrainian association Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHR), 1,400 people were detained by the Russians during the occupation, but estimates are as high as 6,600. 400 inhabitants of the Kherson region are still missing.

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Almost a year after the liberation of the city, Sky News revealed an investigation into war crimes in Russia and testimonies from victims of Russian barbarism. Among the 15 testimonies collected is that of Olga, for example. This Kherson resident (46 years old) was imprisoned by Russian soldiers in August 2022. Accused of espionage, she was taken to a room where her son, captured with her, was being tortured. With tears in her eyes, she told Sky News that she was being electrocuted and that she had to listen to her screams of pain. “I don’t want to suffer something like that again, mom,” she heard him whisper, crying. The Russian torturers stopped attacking her son and then attacked her.

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“We heard how they tortured people 24 hours a day”

They electrocuted her, placing metal clamps on her fingers, until she passed out. As soon as she woke up, the torture began again. She even suffered cardiac arrest in the cell where she was held with other prisoners. She suffered this torture for three days in a row and received threats, including threats to rape her son if she did not speak. “I thought it was the end,” Olga testified.

And yet, she almost considers herself lucky. “We heard how they tortured people 24 hours a day (…) They placed electrodes all over the prisoners’ bodies.”

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Anton, a former Ukrainian police officer, also went through the Kherson torture chambers, after being caught by a former colleague. The latter knew that Anton was providing strategic information to the Ukrainian army and told the Russians everything. He was also kidnapped in August 2022, while on his way to a meeting with his former colleague. He endured hours of interrogation with electrocutions, but provided no information. Then his executioners proceeded to drown him: they covered his head with his shirt and poured liters of water over his head, which made him suffocate and vomit. “I only had a few seconds to spit and breathe a little, then they made me sit down and started pouring water on me again,” explained Antón, who suffered this for four hours.

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Other men locked up in the same cell as him were victims of other types of torture: broken limbs, knocked out teeth, electrocutions of the genitals or tongue… Some died instantly, succumbing to their serious injuries.

For Antón, the release occurred in early December 2022. He had to sign a paper stating that he had not suffered acts of torture, like Olga.

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