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Ukraine's Ombudsman: Student's Death In Police Custody Was Murder

Students light candles near a portait of Ihor Indylo in Lviv on June 1.

Students light candles near a portait of Ihor Indylo in Lviv on June 1.

KYIV -- Ukraine's ombudsman says the death of a student in police custody in Kyiv last week was murder, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.

Twenty-year-old Ihor Indyl died in Kyiv's Shevchenko district police department on May 25 in unclear circumstances.

Police said Indyl was brought in an intoxicated state to the station, where he fell down several times, hitting himself. But Indyl's parents and rights activists disputed that, saying he had been beaten.

Talking to RFE/RL today, ombudsman Nina Karpachova said that Indyl's death was the second such fatality this year. She said that in both cases the police insist the deaths were accidental.

Karpachova added that she is personally monitoring the investigations. She urged the Interior Minister and the Kyiv city prosecutor to conduct an objective, transparent, and unbiased investigation into the deaths.

Several protests were held in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities today. The participants demanded a clear explanation of why Indyl died.

They also insist that any police officials involved in his beating and death should be punished.

Kyiv-based human rights activist Oleh Veremienko told RFE/RL that today's protests did not focus only on Indyl's death. He said they were staged on behalf of all Ukrainians whose rights are abused on a regular basis by the police.