Society

Police’s Non-Feasance: no Investigation of Georgian Legionnaires Beating

Georgia solders in Donbass

The illegal detention of Georgian Legion fighters by the KORD special forces, who beat the volunteers and damaged their car, took place on 2 October, in the Akademgorodok district in Kyiv.

“Our boys were stopped, made handcuffed and got insulted on national grounds, as well as humiliated as the anti-terrorist operation participants. It just happened outside. Even the passers-by understood what was going on and tried to help the boys. And they were lying on the pavement with their hands tied. It was a gross provocation and insult not only towards Georgians but also towards every Ukrainian,” the Georgian Legion Commander Mamuka Mamulashvili commented.

The innocent foreign volunteers were held in handcuffs under machine-gun fire for more than two hours, and then for another eight hours at the Sviatoshynskyi police station, without drawing up any detention reports or announcing any suspicions.

“Eventually, a policeman whispered in my ear, ‘Guys, we made a mistake.’ After eight hours of torment, we were told that they had reacted to an anonymous call. An anonym had allegedly reported that there were weapons in our car. Of course, no weapons were found. It turns out that after an anonymous call, 40 members of the special forces stood up and attacked five Legion’s soldiers, including a volunteer who helped us. And they did it for no reason,” one of the detainees said.

Three volunteers were hospitalised with moderately severe injuries. The injured legionnaires immediately complained to the State Bureau of Investigation and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. However, law enforcement agencies were in no hurry to investigate the incident.

“We were refused to enter information into the Unified Register of pre-trial decisions on the fact of the attack. But we appealed this decision in court and forced them to open criminal proceedings to conduct a pre-trial investigation. But nothing has been changed: the victims were not requested for interrogation, no explanations were accepted,” Oleksandr Kadievskyi, a lawyer from the SICH Human Rights Group commented.

That was not the first attack on Georgian Legion volunteers in the last year.  Two months before the Legion commander and his deputy were attacked by unknown individuals,  volunteers received gunshot wounds. Before that, there was an attempt on the Commander’s life. All these cases were not investigated by the police, although the volunteers provided all the necessary evidence. Legionnaires have linked the attacks to police corruption and the desire of some criminals to “throw them out” of the former “ATEK” plant’s base, where volunteers live officially with the permission from the owners and with the Ministry of Defence support.

“All our inquiries submitted to law enforcement agencies to find out the stage the criminal case investigation reached have gone unanswered,” the human rights activist added.

After nine months of non-feasance, Mamuk Mamulashvili no longer believes in a fair investigation and punishment of the perpetrators. According to him, “until the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs changes, do not expect changes within law enforcement agencies.”

To recap, the Georgian Legion has been fighting on the side of Ukraine against the Russian aggressor since 2014. The vast majority of the unit’s fighters consists of Georgians. The Legion Commander Mamuk Mamulashvili was awarded the “People’s Hero of Ukraine” medal, the “Order for Courage,” the “Ivan Mazepa Cross” and the patriarchal medal “For Sacrifice and Love for Ukraine” for the devotion to the defence of Ukraine.

Olga Volynska

The material was prepared within the project “Combating Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and Torture in Ukraine: An Integrated and Intersectoral Approach” with the European Union support.

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