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Russia launches criminal case into torture of detainees in Ukraine

An investigation is under way to determine circumstances of those crimes and to identify officials who are responsible

MOSCOW, March 26. /TASS/. The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case into the suspected torture of detainees by officers of Ukraine’s national security service SBU in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Committee spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko told TASS on Tuesday.

"According to information obtained by investigators and from media reports, another criminal case was launched under Article 356, part 1 (use of banned means and methods of warfare) of the Russian Criminal Code," she said.

"For example, from April 2014 and till present, members of a criminal group comprising SBU officers unlawfully locked up a group of illegally detained persons, including local residents, in the airport of Mariupol. Those people have been kept in appalling conditions, as they were placed in out-of-order refrigeration chambers. At least 300 people were subjected to torture. There is information suggesting that two people were killed," she said.

According to the spokeswoman, an investigation is under way to determine circumstances of those crimes and to identify officials who are responsible.

Petrenko also cited the 1949 Geneva convention, "relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War" and amendment Protocol II (relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts), which stipulate that individuals who do not participate in military actions directly should be treated in a humane manner with no discrimination.

"Provisions of the Convention prohibit violence on life and person, committed against the above-mentioned individuals. In particular, this includes all types of murders, mutilation, cruel treatment, torture, hostage-taking and offenses against human dignity, including derogatory and degrading treatment," she said.

The spokeswoman said that the Main Investigations Directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee continues to gather information about crimes, committed by the Ukrainian military against civilians during the military conflict on the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), which broke out in April 2014.