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‘Torture chamber’ for children reported in Ukraine: official


An alleged “torture chamber” housing Ukrainian children has been discovered in Kherson, according to a senior Ukrainian human rights official on Wednesday.

Speaking during a presentation on human rights abuses committed against Ukrainian civilians, Ukrainian parliament’s human rights commissioner Dmytro Lubinets said officials discovered evidence of the camera through their investigations.

Wednesday’s report focused on documented human rights abuses against adult civilians and will be followed by two separate reports on abuses against children and soldiers, it said.

A boy has his Ukrainian national flag signed by members of the Ukrainian military, on November 19, 2022, in Kherson, Ukraine.
(Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

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But explaining the scope of the abuse uncovered in the investigation, Lubinets said authorities also discovered “the torture of children for the first time.”

“I thought you couldn’t break the bottom after Bucha, Irpen,” Lubinets told reporters, referencing areas north of Kyiv that saw mass killings and reports of torture in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion in February.

“I personally saw two torture chambers in Balaklia, which were located opposite each other,” he added, referring to a town in the Kharkiv region, which was retaken by Ukrainian forces in September.

Lubinets described a conversation he had with a man who said he had been held in one of Kharkiv’s chambers for 90 days and was tortured with a knife, hot objects and believed he was heading into the line of fire several times.

“He heard the screams of women and men who were being tortured 24 hours a day. I thought she was there… bottom,” she said at a news conference transcribed by Ukrainian outlet Pravda. “No. We saw the bottom in Kherson.”

Ukrainian residents and officials exhume the body of a 16-year-old girl and seven other men who were killed by Russian forces and buried in the town of Pravdyne outside Kherson on November 29, 2022.

Ukrainian residents and officials exhume the body of a 16-year-old girl and seven other men who were killed by Russian forces and buried in the town of Pravdyne outside Kherson on November 29, 2022.
(Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

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“In one of the torture chambers, we discovered a separate cell where children were kept,” he continued.

Lubinets said the people detained in the chamber described a room next to theirs where they knew they had children and was referred to by Russian officials as the “children’s cell.”

The cell was described as damp and the children left hungry.

The only difference between the boys’ cell conditions and that of the other prisoners is that they were given three “thin” mats to lie on and water every other day.

Children detained in the chamber also suffered “psychological” pressure and were told by guards that their parents had abandoned them.

Lubinets described the children as those who “resisted” the nearly seven-month Russian occupation.

A 14-year-old boy was brought to the camera after taking a picture of Russian equipment that had reportedly been damaged.

A boy has his Ukrainian national flag signed by members of the Ukrainian military, on November 19, 2022, in Kherson, Ukraine.

A boy has his Ukrainian national flag signed by members of the Ukrainian military, on November 19, 2022, in Kherson, Ukraine.
(Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

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Lubinets did not detail how long the children were detained or if there were any deaths.

The commissioner said authorities have so far found four torture chambers in the city of Kherson and six more in the surrounding regions that Ukrainian forces have so far retaken.



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