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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Student Dies in Police Custody

Ihor Indylo died one night shy of his 20th anniversary.

He and a friend had a little drink at the dorm in the evening. As the two parted, Ihor had an argument with an on-campus police officer and ended up escorted to the Shevchenko rayon police precinct.

Later in the evening, the faculty pleaded with the officer to let him out for the night. The officer declined, saying Ihor was misbehaving at the precinct and would be detained for three days.

As Channel 1+1 found out, ambulances had rushed to the precinct four times during the night but had refused to hospitalize Ihor. In the morning, the faculty called Ihor’s parents to tell them they could take their son’s body home.

The police side of the story: Dead-drunk and unruly, Ihor fell and hurt himself. Three times.

However, the autopsy report somewhat contradicts that account, Channel 1+1 says.

Shockingly, the autopsy had been performed before the parents learned of their son’s death. The pathologist wouldn’t allow them to fully examine his body.

Ihor’s relatives thought he had choked. “All this time we had this version that he choked,” says Ihor's mother as she fights back tears.
She then reads from the autopsy report: “Brain hemorrhage, skull fracture, damage done as a result of impact with a blunt object.”

Police are now putting pressure on students to testify that Ihor had started a brawl and arrived at the precinct with his skull already fractured. (That’s what the students told Channel 1+1 in phone calls.)

The faculty says Ihor didn’t have drinking problems. An eye witness says Ihor looked fine as he stepped into the police car.

Yanukovych says he wants to know what happened as Shevchenko rayon police chiefs have been suspended in the ongoing probe.

I’ll tell you what happened, Mr. President. It’s “Ukraine for the People,” remember?

As long as the people of Ukraine don’t act like the people of France, Greece and Romania, you can sleep well.

A few more facts and figures. Ukraine employs a police force of 302,000 for a population of 45,905,300 (2010). By comparison, the U.S. employs a police force of 883,600 for a population of 305,529,237 (2009).

The SBU, our security service, totals 33,000. That’s the size of the FBI.

Size means security? Wrong. It means corruption, mismanagement and brutality.

This law enforcement culture had flourished under Kuchma and Yushchenko. (Anatoliy Mohyliov, the current minister of the interior, served as the Crimean police chief under Yushchenko. And boy did he police those Crimean Tatars.)

Upholding the law of the jungle requires a lot of people skills.

Some people get their palms blown away.

Some get beaten silly.

Some get tortured.

And some only have months to live.

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