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Ukraine: Protest organiser Dimitrii Bulatov's 'barbaric' torture must be investigated

Ukraine protesto Dmitrii Bulatov was abducted and tortured
Ukraine activist Dmitrii Bulatov was abducted and tortured for his part in the anti-government protests © Olha Koshelenko

The abduction and torture of Ukrainian opposition activist Dmitrii Bulatov is a barbaric act which must be investigated immediately, Amnesty International said today.

Bulatov is one of the main organisers and participants of the “Automaydan rallies”, where convoys of cars join the “Euromaydan” demonstrations which have been taking place in the capital Kiev since November.

He disappeared on the evening of 22 January, and thousands of Amnesty supporters across the UK had called for an urgent investigation into his disappearance.

Yesterday he was thrown from a car and left to die in freezing temperatures in a forest on the outskirts of Kiev.

Bulatov says he was beaten, tortured and “crucified” during the eight days that followed his abduction. Blindfolded for long periods of time and given very little food, he was interrogated by men said to have Russian accents who wanted to know who was funding his activities. He is now being treated for his injuries in hospital.

After Bulatov was thrown from a car yesterday evening, he managed to walk to a nearby village to find shelter and call friends.

Soaked in blood, his clothes stained and covered in cuts and bruises, he spoke of his ordeal, saying:

“I was crucified. My hands were pierced. They cut my ear. They cut my face. There is no spot on my body that is not injured. You can see yourself. But I am alive, thank God.”

Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Director John Dalhuisen said:

“The Ukrainian authorities must immediately open an investigation into Dmitrii Bulatov’s case and bring to justice those who have committed this barbaric act against a prominent protest organiser.

“Dmitrii’s horrific story is not unique amongst Euromaydan protesters. A number of similar cases have been reported including the case of Yury Verbytsky who, sadly, did not survive his ordeal.

“It is very hard to see a way out of the current crisis when such horrific abuses against protest organisers are taking place.

“The authorities must send a strong message to the perpetrators of these appalling acts of violence that there will be no impunity and that they will be held accountable.”

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