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Ukrainian Activist Describes Abduction, 'Unbearable' Torture

  • RFE/RL

VILNIUS -- Dmytro Bulatov, the Ukrainian antigovernment activist who says he was abducted and subjected to torture, told reporters he had been subjected to such unbearable pain during his captivity that he had asked his abductors to kill him.

Bulatov went missing on January 22. He resurfaced one week later, heavily bruised and with an ear partly cut off.

Bulatov described his ordeal at a press conference on February 6 in Lithuania, where he was flown for medical treatment.

"I can't describe it in words," Bulatov said. "It continued for I don't know how long. At that moment -- I have never in my life felt anything worse. It felt as if melted metal was poured on my face and the only thing I wanted was for this to stop."

He said he was beaten and interrogated every day.

"The way they beat and tortured me -- they were professionals who know how to do such things," Bulatov said.

Bulatov recounted how he was "crucified" and how his captors beat him.

"They nailed my hands with nails or with something else to [a piece of] wood, and I was kneeling there with punctured hands," he said. "At that moment, they took a baton and started beating me on my back, legs, my bones, my hands."

He said his abductors wanted to know who was financing the antigovernment protests in Ukraine and accused him of being a U.S. spy.

"They forced me to speak on camera and say that I was a U.S. spy, that I was CIA spy, that the Americans were giving me money, that Automaidan was all paid for by the Americans," Bulatov said.

EU and U.S. officials have expressed shock over his treatment.

EU leaders offered to help Bulatov after Ukrainian police said they intended to charge him with participating in "mass disorder." Bulatov was a leader of a protest dubbed "Automaidan," consisting mainly of drivers who would protect the protest camps and blockade streets.

Bulatov flew from Kyiv to Vilnius on February 2.

He said on February 6 that he has no intention of returning to Ukraine until the government there "gives guarantees to the international community that I will not be politically prosecuted."

Protests started in Ukraine in late November after the government suspended talks on an agreement with the EU and instead turned to Russia for financial support.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP