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Russia planned torture chambers in occupied territories

#StandWithUkraine
March 3,2023 1012
Russia planned torture chambers in occupied territories

Evidence collected in the south Ukrainian city of Kherson by a team of Ukrainian and international lawyers led by a U.K. barrister shows Russian torture centers were not “random” but preplanned and directly financed by the Russian state, according to The Guardian.

The city was under Russian control for eight months, from March 2 last year until Ukrainian forces liberated it on Nov. 11.

The lawyers, called the Mobile Justice Team, said on Thursday they had investigated 20 torture chambers in Kherson and concluded they were part of a “calculated plan to terrorize, subjugate and eliminate Ukrainian resistance and destroy Ukrainian identity.”

The evidence collected by Ukrainian prosecutors and analyzed by the Mobile Justice Team includes plans used by Vladimir Putin’s occupying forces to establish, manage and finance the 20 torture centers in Kherson.

“The mass torture chambers, financed by the Russian state, are not random but rather part of a carefully thought-out and financed blueprint with a clear objective to eliminate Ukrainian national and cultural identity,” said the British barrister, Wayne Jordash, who is leading the team.

More than 1,000 survivors have submitted evidence, and more than 400 people have vanished from Kherson, the lawyers say.

The centers were run by the Russian security services, the FSB, as well as the Russian prison service and local collaborators, according to the lawyers, and were designed to subjugate, re-educate or kill Ukrainian civic leaders and ordinary dissenters.

The prisoners included anyone who had a connection to the Ukrainian state or Ukrainian civil society, such as activists, journalists, civil servants and teachers. Other victims said they were stopped randomly on the street and then detained for allegedly having “pro-Ukrainian” material on their phones.

The prisoners – male and female – were subject to physical beatings, electric shock torture and waterboarding. They were forced to learn and recite pro-Russian slogans, poems and songs, say the team.

It is unclear whether the more than 400 people who have disappeared were killed during the occupation or have been taken to Russia.

“Putin’s plan is to occupy Ukraine, subjugate the Ukrainian population to Russian rule and destroy Ukrainian identity. This plan is becoming clearer as the evidence of war crimes proliferates and as our investigations progress,” Jordash said.

Read the whole story on the Guardian site. Warning: the description of tortures may be disturbing.

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