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Human rights activists urge Ukraine military prosecutor to release ‘secret’ prisoners

August 29, 2016, 11:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, at least five victims of enforced disappearances remain in secret detention at the SBU in Kharkov

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MOSCOW, August 29. /TASS/. The Human Rights Watch international organization has called on Ukraine’s Military Prosecutor Anatoly Matios to personally investigate the facts of enforced disappearances and secret detention by Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU).

"The Security Service’s continued denial of enforced disappearances fosters a climate of lawlessness and perpetuates impunity for grave human rights violations," said Tanya Lokshina, a senior Europe and Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Some 13 people - 12 men and one woman - have been released from secret detention in the Kharkov SBU after last month’s publication of a joint report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch titled "You Don’t Exist."

Lokshina said the release of 13 people secretly held in eastern Ukraine’s Kharkov was "very good news, but there has been no official acknowledgement of their detention or release, or of the problem of enforced disappearances by the SBU."

The new information shows that at least five victims of enforced disappearances remain in secret detention at the SBU in Kharkov. Three of the five people still in the Kharkov Security Service headquarters have been held there for more than 17 months, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said.

"We are concerned about the safety of these three people, especially as they have been threatened with repercussions for speaking up about their secret detention," Lokshina said. "Ukraine’s military prosecutor should ensure their safety and protect them from harassment and intimidation by other Ukrainian law enforcement agencies."

Ukraine’s international allies should urge the country’s authorities "to acknowledge the practice of enforced disappearance and secret detentions by its Security Services and put a resolute end to impunity for such crimes," Human Rights Watch said.

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