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 Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch blame tortures in Donbas on both warring sides

Both the Ukrainian authorities and Russia-backed militants in eastern Ukraine hold civilians in prolonged, arbitrary, and sometimes secret detention and torture them, according to a joint report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch released Thursday, July 21.

Censor.NET reports citing UNIAN.

The 56-page report titled "'You Don't Exist': Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine," is based on interviews with 40 victims of abuses, their family members, witnesses, victims' lawyers, and other sources.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented nine cases of arbitrary, prolonged detention of civilians by the Ukrainian authorities, including some cases of enforced disappearances, in informal detention sites and nine cases of arbitrary, prolonged detention of civilians by Russian-backed militants.

Most of the cases detailed in the report took place in 2015 and the first half of 2016.

Read more: 87 percent of military, 50 percent of civilians underwent tortures in terrorists' captivity, - human rights activist Zakharov

The Ukrainian authorities and pro-Kyiv paramilitary groups have detained civilians suspected of involvement with or supporting Russian-backed militants, while the pro-Russian forces have detained civilians suspected of supporting or spying for the Ukrainian government, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found.

Detentions may last for several months. Human rights activists report that detainees are often beaten and tortured. This is how both sides try to make them speak, the report states.

Read more: UN SPT delegation to re-visit Ukraine in September, - Ministry of Justice

In some cases, both the Ukrainian authorities and separatists refuse to inform the relatives about the detention or whereabouts of a person. Such cases should be treated as enforced disappearances, according to human rights activists.

As noted, both sides often detain civilians with an aim to use them further for swapping. Human rights activists believe such detentions equate to hostage-taking that relates to war crimes.

Read more: Militants refused to swap 25 Ukrainian hostages for 50 separatists, - Iryna Herashchenko
 
 
 
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