New evidence of the existence of a secret prison in the airport of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has been found. An investigative report was prepared by RIA Novosti. Former prisoners and officers of a prison that is unofficially referred to as “the library,” said that it belonged to the Azov battalion (banned in the Russian Federation) and existed under the patronage of the SBU.
White corridor, plastic doors. Looks like nothing extraordinary, like the inside of a shopping mall, except for people in masks. This is how the Ukrainian secret prison at the Mariupol airport looks from inside. It is also called a “library”. This was a real evil house for its “books”.
—This is a hell, a real hell, a place of death.
Tatiana Ganzha spent 10 days in this hell. She was detained in the autumn of 2014 for participating in protests in Mariupol. The black lists of “Azov” battalion (banned in Russia) said she was a separatist, and she was forced to confess under torture.
“I was afraid to ask for a toilet, because they would start beating me as soon as I tried to say a word,” recalls Tatiana Ganzha.
Now Tatyana resides in Donetsk in one of the dormitories for refugees from the Ukrainian territory. Her house in Mariupol was plundered by “Azov”. The journalists of the RIA Novosti news agency recorded stories of those who were tortured. Only the facts about secret prisons in Ukraine were collected.
“They want some kind of justice for their torturers to be punished. Many eagerly tell their stories, show documents, medical examination reports and scars,” says Vladimir, RIA Novosti stringer.
For a long time, there was only indirect evidence of the existence of the so-called “library”. This spring, a former SBU officer Vasily Prozorov told and proved that it really exists, because he had been there.
“This is a “library,” and people held there were called “books.” People fainted even from being inside those cells. The interrogation was carried out in utility rooms – in the boiler room, in storage spaces. If there has been no refurbishment, the blood has absorbed into the concrete,” says Vasily Prozorov, a former employee of the Security Service of Ukraine.
One of the airport’s terminals was equipped as a prison, only in the summer and autumn of 2014 more than 300 people passed through it. Two have died during this time. Eyewitnesses say that now there are much more victims. Olga Seletskaia is looking for familiar faces in photographs, she recognizes many of them, but she doesn’t know where these people are now.
“I remember this guy, too. I don’t remember his name, but his face looks familiar,” says Olga Seletskaia.
A journalist from Donetsk, Elena Blokha, was in prison with her son. On her way to the Crimea, she was detained by mercenaries. She spent 90 days there.
“When my son and I were released, when we recalled this, he told me that in the cell, where he had been placed, there were 8 more men. All these men were beaten and not just beaten – their arms and legs were broken, one of them, he said, had broken ribs sticking out,” says Elena Blokha.
According to some reports, there are more than twenty such prisons. They are located in the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions controlled by Ukraine, in Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk regions. And what is happening there has repeatedly come under attention of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. But no one has been punished. The official Kiev does not acknowledge the very fact of the existence of torture chambers.
“In fact, information about these prisons, about crimes committed there, is a kind of a test for the new government in Ukraine, showing us whether it is strong enough to recognize this fact, or not?” This is just a matter of time – this information will no longer remain secret,” said Alexander Kazakov, Director of the Centre for Donbass and Ukraine Studies.
So far, the UN mission has officially documented only 16 cases of abductions and interrogations, and frankly speaking – torture of people in the airport of Mariupol. But, according to witnesses, there were about thousands of such victims, because the notorious “library” is not one of a kind. And turning a blind eye to this is also a crime.