SBI detained former heads of Berdiansk correctional colony, who brutally tortured prisoners to extract money from them (VIDEO)


The State Bureau of Investigation, together with the Prosecutor General's Office and in close cooperation with international human rights organisations, is conducting systematic work to identify and stop the shameful facts of torture in penal institutions.

SBI officers detained the leaders of the criminal organisation - the former head and first deputy head of the Berdiansk Correctional Colony (No. 77).
For a long time, a criminal organisation had been operating in the colony under their leadership, extorting money from prisoners and their relatives by force and torture.

Despite the outbreak of a full-scale war by russia and the occupation of Berdiansk, SBI investigators, with the assistance of the SSU and under the guidance of the Prosecutor General's Office, continued the investigation and were able to prove the involvement of the colony's management in torture.

According to operational data, almost everyone who was sent to the colony was a victim of the perpetrators. Currently, the criminal proceedings have collected documentary evidence of abuse of more than 30 victims. The process of identifying the victims of the criminal organisation is ongoing.

It was established that from the moment of arrival to the colony, each of the convicts underwent a rigorous admission procedure, in which they were tortured with elaborate forms of torture, physical and psychological pressure, the main purpose of which was to break the person's will and force them to follow any instructions without question.

Later the convict fell into the hands of other convicts, but those who cooperated with the administration of the institution. They continued to commit illegal actions against the new arrivals. By the way, some of them, as well as some colony employees, remained on the occupied territory and today serve the racists.

According to a specific plan made by the colony management, the convicts were subjected to torture on a daily basis during the first 14 days of their stay in the quarantine and distribution unit, such as

  • hitting the feet with a plastic or wooden stick, which made walking painful and difficult,
  • punches to the neck vertebrae, which caused the victim to lose coordination or even consciousness for a moment (the so-called "turtle")
  • painful twisting of the arms behind the back, followed by a compressed breathing (the so-called "swallow" or "swim")
  • numerous punches to the gluteal area with a stick, beating the phalanges of the fingers with a plastic or wooden stick,
  • getting fungal infections under the fingernails with a contaminated sewing needle
  • tying or immobilising the person for a long time,
  • prolonged standing in one position for several hours, squatting more than 500 or more times, unreasonable floor cleaning during the whole daylight hours, etc.

In pauses between torture, the victims were told to call their relatives and ask them to transfer money to a specific card, the amount of which ranged from 1 to 100 thousand hryvnias, depending on the financial situation of the relatives.

If the person did not agree, the torture continued until the prisoner would eventually break down. Unable to cope with the daily torture, the victims and their relatives were forced to comply with the torturers' demands and transfer money. The money was withdrawn from the "pad cards" and delivered in cash to the leaders of the criminal organisation.

After the investigation began, the institution's leaders resigned and moved to Kharkiv and Dnipro. The deputy even received a position in the inter-regional department of the Department for Sentence Execution and visited the Berdiansk colony to check on the observance of the rights of convicts.

The former head of the Berdiansk Correctional Colony (No. 77) and his first deputy were detained and notified of suspicion under part one of Article 255 (creation and management of a criminal organisation) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (as amended by Law No. 671-IX of 04.06.2020), part 2 of Article 127 (torture), part four of Article 189 (extortion) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

In addition, five members of the criminal organisation who were directly involved in the execution of torture were previously served with notices of suspicion under the same articles.

The sanctions of the articles provide for punishment in the form of imprisonment for up to 12 years.

The issue of choosing a measure of restraint against the suspects is being decided.

The pre-trial investigation is ongoing, and the work on serving notices of suspicion to other members of the criminal organisation, including those who remained in the temporarily occupied territories, is underway.

Procedural guidance is provided by the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.