Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Ukraine police filmed abusing naked Kiev protester in the snow 'may face criminal liability'

Ukraine police abuse naked protester in the snow
Ukraine police abuse naked protester in the snow
A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Protesters throw tires in a fire as they clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
Protesters throw tires in a fire as they clash with police in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. City health officials and police said that two people died of gunshot wounds during the clashes Wednesday morning. But the opposition charges that as many as five people have died. The mass protests in the capital of Kiev erupted after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych spurned a pact with the European Union in favor of close ties with Russia, which offered him a $15 billion bailout. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

A video showing a member of the Ukraine's elite Berkut riot police abusing a naked Kiev protester in freezing temperatures has appeared on the internet.

The video shows a man, stripped completely naked except for his boots, being pushed into a police van.

He is then called back and forced to stand in the snow while police officers photograph him. The man is forced to hold what appears to be an ice axe or spade alongside another balaclava-clad officer.

The officer grabs him by the neck and slaps him on head before he is led back to the van. Before being put on the bus the officer appears to kick him. Another officer, whose face is not concealed, appears to be concerned by the treatment.

Bruises and cuts can be seen on the man who was reportedly a Grushevskogo Street protester.

An unnamed police officer reportedly told Vesti newspaper that the man in the video deserved the treatment. The officer claimed the protester had thrown Molotov cocktails and police had been hunting him for the past two days.

“He was one of the most accurate throwers. He tossed Molotov cocktails at us and a lot of our guys got seriously hurt. We were tracking him for a long time, but eventually caught and undressed him. He was our souvenir, a warning to the others,” the officer said.

The Interior Ministry said the behaviour of the officers was 'unacceptable'. A spokesperson said those responsible "may even face criminal liability” for their actions.

The head of the protest camp on Kiev's Independence Square said that the victim was being given treatment.

Andriy Parubiy wrote on Facebook: "His name is Mykhailo Gavrylyak. Now he is [in] the Maidan self-defence headquarters and is being given treatment."

A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine
A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during clashes with police in central Kiev, Ukraine

According to the opposition movement two protesters have been killed and over 300 injured in the recent clashes. The Interior Ministry says that more than 250 of its officers have been wounded over the past four days.

The Berkut, a successor to the Soviet OMON, are special police units within Ukrainian Interior Ministry.

A live video stream of the protests can be viewed HERE.

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