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HRW: Civilians face detainment, disappearance, and torture in Ukraine

[JURIST] According to a 56-page report [report] by Human Rights Watch [official website] and Amnesty International [official website], Ukrainian government officials and Russia-backed separatists in the Ukraine have subjected citizen to "prolonged, arbitrary detention," torture, or other forms of inhumane treatment, including refusing necessary medical attention. The report examined nine instances of arbitrary, prolonged detention of citizens by both Ukrainian authorities and pro-Kiev Russia-backed separatists over the course of 2015 and the beginning of 2016. Ukrainian forces initially detain the citizens and turn the citizens over to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), where they are eventually put into the normal criminal justice system. While in SBU incommunicado detention, however, these citizens have been faced with beatings, electric shocks, threats of rape, execution and retaliation against family members. Likewise, those captured by Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) or Luhansk People's Republic (LPR), pro-Kiev security forces, faced incommunicado detainment and were subjected to inhumane treatment. The report urges both groups to end the forced, arbitrary detainments, ill-treatment, and torture, and to investigate and take appropriate actions against those responsible for these practices.

Russia and Ukraine have been in conflict since the annexation of Crimea [JURIST backgrounder] in March 2014. In June the OHCHR reported that the human rights situation in Ukraine remains troublesome [JURIST report] following two years of conflict with Russia. In February Russia filed suit [JURIST report] against Ukraine over Ukraine's default on $3 billion in bonds. A Ukrainian official said in January that the nation plans to sue Russia [JURIST report] in the International Court of Justice [official website] on claims of financing terrorism. In August a Russian military court sentenced [JURIST report] two Ukrainian activists to substantial jail time for the charge of conspiring to commit terror attacks. In March of last year the EU committed to stand by its policy of refusing to recognize Crimea's annexation [JURIST report]. In February 2015 Russian liberal political activist Boris Nemtsov was shot in the back four times [BBC report] in the middle of busy downtown Moscow. Nemtsov was openly politically opposed to Russia's annexation of Crimea and its role in Ukraine.

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