Human Rights Watch: Russian military illegally detained and tortured residents of Kherson during the occupation
Main photo: A pretrial detention facility on Teploenerhetykiv Street in Kherson, Ukraine that was used by Russian forces to torture civilians. © 2022 Roman Baklazhov
The human rights organization Human Rights Watch stated that the Russian military, during the occupation of Kherson and its environs in March-November 2022 illegally detained and tortured local residents. This is stated in the report of the organization, based on conversations with 34 local residents, including former detainees.
According to Human Rights Watch, during the entire period of occupation, the Russian military carried out detentions in a similar pattern: first, a rough search was carried out, then a hat or bag was pulled over the head of the detainee and taken to one of 20 detention centers.
Victims and their family members told Human Rights Watch about torture and other ill-treatment at a pretrial detention center on Teploenerhetykiv Street in Kherson that local residents referred to as a “hole,” as well as a detention facility on Perekopska Street and makeshift facilities at the municipal administration building, a village school, and an airport hangar.
According to interlocutors of human rights activists, Former detainees consistently reported similar forms of abuse, including severe beatings with sticks and rubber batons, electric shocks, threats of death or mutilation, and use of painful stress positions. No adequate medical care was provided to detainees. Russian guards writes Human Rights Watch in its report, forced the detainees to shout pro-Russian slogans, listen and sing the Russian anthem, and applaud the performers of patriotic songs.
During the Russian retreat from Kherson, the military took several detainees. Among them were three men whose relatives were interviewed by human rights activists. The two detainees were released but were not allowed to leave the occupied territory.
The prosecutor's office of the Kherson region told human rights activists that they have data on the detention of four to five thousand people, but there may be more detainees.