Suspicious Death Reported In Kiev Prison

KIEV, Ukraine -- An unidentified man died under unclear circumstances at the same Kiev prison where Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko had been kept for five months before her transfer to another prison last month.

The death of the 21-year-old man, who was under investigation for alleged theft, was first reported by Kostiantyn Usov, an investigative reporter with TVi television, on his blog on Wednesday.

The death raises fresh concerns over safety of Tymoshenko, a former prime minister who has been sentenced in October 2011 to seven years in prison for abusing authority while negotiating a 10-year natural gas contract with Russia in January 2009.

Tymoshenko has long complained about getting inadequate medical treatment at the prison.

Her lawyer, Serhiy Vlasenko, said she had suffered from severe back pain.

Usov reported that he received a phone call in the middle of the night from his undisclosed contact at the prison who said the administration of the Lukyanivska detention facility had been refusing for 40 minutes to provide medical help to the man who had suffered from severe pain.

“The man, who never had a guilty verdict from any court, had been lying on the floor for 40 minutes suffering in convulsions,” Usov said.

“Endless cries for help from fellow prisoners had not been answered as drunken medical prison personnel had been watching through a small window in the door and laughing.”

Only hours later, the state authority that supervises prisons across the country, has issued a statement admitting that the man had died at the Lukyanivska prison at 22:30 on Tuesday.

The authority cited electrocution as the cause of death.

“Three minutes after [the electrocution] prison guards arrived, and later medical personnel, who, unfortunately, declared the young man dead,” the authority said in the statement.

But even before the statement was issued, Usov said that his sources have told him that the prison administration has been trying to “fabricate” evidence that the man was fatally electrocuted.

Later in the day, Anatoliy Melnyk, the chief Kiev prosecutor, ordered investigation into the death of the man at the detention facility.

The Kiev prosecutor office reported that the man had been trying to fix a broken electric outlet in the prison cell that had led to the electrocution.

Source: Ukrainian Journal