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Ukrainian opposition activist in hospital, police suspect torture charges are phoney

February 01, 2014, 3:55 UTC+3 1
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KIEV, February 1 (Itar-Tass) - The leader of Ukraine’s self-styled movement of drivers known for staging improvised protest motorcades, Dmitry Bulatov, who claims to have been abducted, held hostage for days and tortured, is in hospital under the protection of police, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s public relations department said Friday.

“In view of the man’s claims he had suffered abduction the investigator has issued orders to put him under the protection of police in his hospital ward,” the statement said.

The Interior Ministry recalled that Bulatov was involved in two criminal cases - as a plaintiff in the case of his own abduction, and as a suspect in another case opened over mass rioting.

Bearing in mind Bulatov’s condition the investigator has asked the court to ease pre-trial preventive custody to house arrest.

Earlier, the Interior Ministry opened a criminal case over Bulatov’s alleged kidnapping.

According to media reports, a group of unidentified kidnappers abducted Bulatov on January 22. On January 30 he was reported to have been set free. Bulatov claims he was tortured. Currently he is in hospital. Germany’s Interior Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has come out with an intensive demand no hindrances be created to taking the “gravely hurt opposition activist” to Germany for treatment. US Department of State spokesperson Marie Harf has urged the Ukrainian authorities to find those responsible for the opposition activist’s kidnapping.

In the meantime, the police are looking into several versions of what happened to Bulatov, including the suspicion it may have been a provocative frame-up, the deputy chief of the Interior Ministry’s investigative department, Oleg Tatarov, told the media on Friday.

“The investigators are considering several possibilities, including a criminal offence against the person in question. Material interest is one. Nor do they rule out a frame-up that may be used for provocations to trigger public outcry,” Tatarov said.

The police official said he was curious why not a single member of the motorists’ movement, of which Bulatov is leader, was eager to cooperate with the investigators in their efforts to track down the missing activist.

“Instead of calling the police who would have examined the crime scene and collected evidence they preferred to invite certain politicians,” Tatarov said.

After his release Bulatov was taken to a private medical centre. Law enforcers have questioned the personnel who had examined Bulatov, as well as everybody who was present at the moment.

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