Strasbourg to consider the Pomilyaiko torture case


The application lodged by Kharkiv resident Svitlana Pomilyaiko with the European Court of Human Rights has been found admissible. Ms Pomilyaiko and her lawyers refer to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, this being the prohibition against torture and ill-treatment, as well as Article 13 given the lack of effective investigation into her complaint. .

Back in 2008 two women were taken in for questioning after two computers went missing from their work. According to the women’s testimony, the two officers questioned them separately, trying to force both to make confessions. Svitlana was kicked and had a bag put over her head. Natalya also had tweezers used to press her nipples. Svitlana could hear her friend’s screams, yet neither woman signed a “confession”. They were released, but only after both signed statements that they had no criticism against the police. Both have medical reports from the hospital which they went to following their release. Only Svitlana Pomilyaiko decided to make a formal complaint.

A criminal investigation was initiated only to be revoked by the Ordzhonikidze District Court in Kharkiv. That court ruling, however, was, on 7 May overturned by the Kharkiv Regional Court of Appeal, and the case was sent back to a first instance court to be examined again.

In November 2011 the Ordzhonikidze District Prosecutor yet again terminated the criminal investigation into allegations of police torture from Svitlana Pomilyaiko.

Ms Pomilyaiko was helped by a Kharkiv Human Rights Group lawyer both in fighting the Prosecutor’s reluctance to investigate the case and in lodging her application with the European Court of Human Rights.