2nd Cop Arrested In Mykolayiv Gang-Rape

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukraine’s authorities Wednesday arrested a second police officer accused of gang-raping and brutalizing a young woman, yielding to pressure from hundreds of angry protesters who had stormed a local police station.

Vitaliy Zakharchenko

Yevhen Dryzhak, who was alleged by the victim to be the perpetrator of the crime, was arrested amid new claims the police station may have been involved in more cases of rape and murders over the past three years.

The new allegations put mounting pressure on Interior Affairs Minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko, a staunch ally of President Viktor Yanukovych, to step down. 

Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka, another close ally of Yanukovych, was Wednesday demanded by opposition groups to address lawmakers on the issue.

The unfolding scandal also puts growing pressure on Yanukovych himself, who is expected to seek reelection for another five-year term in office at the next presidential election in March 2015.

“We demand the Prosecutor General to report on the events in Vradiyivka in the Mykolayiv region,” Eduard Leonov, a lawmaker from the Svoboda group, said in Parliament.

"We demand the criminal case to focus on the attempted murder, not on heavy injuries, because women were killed and get killed there.”

Leonov, citing information obtained from local residents, said there were at least five more cases of gang-rape and murders of women in Vradiyivka over the past three years that need to be investigated.

"Over the past three years, police officers at the station raped and killed five women,” Leonov said.

“Five men were later severely beaten and forced to take responsibility for the rapes and the murders. Three of these men later died from hanging and one died of injuries at home.”

Andriy Parubiy, an opposition lawmaker who led the protests near the police station in Vradiyivka on Monday and Tuesday, said police officers have been massively resigning from the station over the past 24 hours.

Hundreds of angry protesters stormed the police station in Vradiyivka in protest of police brutality and the reluctance of investigation of the alleged crimes.

The protesters smashed windows, broke doors and set fire to the building, while police fought back with tear gas.

The case has caused widespread anger among Ukrainians, who say that corruption, lawlessness and the impunity of government officials and their wealthy friends has increased markedly since Yanukovych came to power three years ago.

The victim latest gang-rape, a 29-year-old local woman identified as Irina Krashkova, was returning home from a bar last Wednesday when she says she was shoved into a car, driven to the woods, raped and savagely beaten by two policemen, aided by a driver.

The woman remains in the hospital in a serious condition, having sustained multiple fractures to her skull and bruises all over her body.

Source: Ukrainian Journal