Human rights violation against Daria Mastikasheva by Security Service of Ukraine

Comments and statements of the Ombudsman News

I would like to draw the attention of the world community to constant violations of human rights by members of the Security Service of Ukraine.

A month ago three-time taekwondo champion in Ukraine Daria Mastikasheva was arbitrary arrested by the SSU, who concealed her whereabouts from her relatives and friends. It was not the first and, unfortunately, not the last case when SSU staff abduct and torture people. I would like to note that she went to Ukraine to visit her son and mother. On August 15, masked men grabbed her and took to the SSU, applying heavy physical force. As SSU investigators arrested her, they mocked her for over 24 hours, beat her on the head, forced to undress, put a plastic bag on her head and strangled her until she lost consciousness. After all these tortures she was forced to confess that she allegedly works for Russian special services.

The lawyer of Mastikasheva tried to find out her whereabouts, but SSU officers kept saying “there is no one with such a name here”. The statement that became the ground for opening criminal case against her was written one day after her abduction, after the Ukrainian security staff received confession through violence and torture.

According to the lawyer of Mastikasheva, she was detained on August 15. And on the next day, August 16, with the aim to legally justify violence and torture by the SSU, an unknown and uninvolved person wrote a statement accusing Mastikasheva of forcing him to commit unlawful acts that would infringe Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. According to her common-law husband, Sergei Sokolov, during her stay in remand prison, the woman has never been visited by a doctor, she was already brought to the point where she decided to commit a suicide, she started a hunger strike and wrote a farewell letter to her mother and her 10-year-old son. She wrote she could not bear humiliation and torture from the SSU anymore.

I have repeatedly addressed international organizations with the issue of applying illegal methods of inquiry to detained persons, the lack of medical care, and inadequate detention conditions. Let me remind you that the detention conditions, as well as humane treatment of them are regulated by Additional Protocol 2 to the 1949 Geneva Convention. Under international humanitarian law all detainees must be protected from murder, torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

I call on the entire world community, the UN Human Rights Office, the ICRC to pay attention to this act of violence and torture by the SSU, which directly and indirectly endangers the life of the mother of a 10-year-old boy.