There are no “secret SSU prisons” in Ukraine, and rumors of systemic human rights violations are being purposefully spread by pro-Russian propagandists, said Ivan Bakanov, head of the Security Service, Radio Svoboda reports.

“Ukraine is at war, including a hybrid war. We protect ourselves not only from Russian bullets but also from information attacks and huge deliberate lies. So we have long been accustomed to constant “insults” about “secret SSU prisons”. I would like to emphasize once again that the Security Service does not have any secret prisons where someone is allegedly tortured. These are fantasies of Russian propagandists,” Ivan Bakanov said.

He said that the special services paid “special attention” to prevent human rights violations or torture.

“We are studying in detail all the appeals and reports of the UN Monitoring Mission for Human Rights in Ukraine. We conduct inspections and at the same time openly tell our international partners: if you see any violations in the work of the SSU, immediately contact the prosecutor’s office. Everyone who breaks the law must be held accountable. And employees of the Security Service are no exception,” Bakanov said.

In 2016, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Shymonovych claimed that UN observers had documented hundreds of cases of torture in connection with the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and pointed to five secret prisons of the Ukrainian Security Service. Human rights activists from Amnesty International and Human rights watch also declared illegal places of detention in Ukraine controlled territory.

Following these statements, the SBU has repeatedly insisted that it operates within the law, and that information about secret prisons in the country is untrue.

Natalia Tolub

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