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According to a new report, the Ukrainian police's ill treatment of suspects has a "systematic nature." (file photo)

A new report from the Council of Europe finds that, despite significant efforts in Ukraine to adopt European human right standards, law enforcement bodies in the country continue to treat suspects badly.

"The problem of ill treatment still exists and has a systematic nature," said the report, which was released on May 4 as part of the European Union's and council's Partnership for Good Governance Project aimed at strengthening human rights in the former Soviet country.

The report said the principle reason for what it called "ill treatment by police" in Ukraine was an "established investigative practice which requires a suspect's confession as the starting point" for a criminal investigation.

It said the practice of first obtaining confessions from suspects -- "often extracted in an illegal manner" -- is "widely spread and supported" by police so they can "present better investigative statistics."

Once the confessions are extracted, the report said, the "inadmissible evidence" is "quite often accepted in court proceedings," perpetuating the rights violations in the legal system.

The report also found shortcomings in Ukrainian law that contribute to the ill treatment of suspects, including a "lack of a functional independent institution responsible for investigating" rights violations by police.

Amin Eleusinov in court in May 2017 (file photo)

PAVLODAR, Kazakhstan -- A court in Kazakhstan's northern city of Pavlodar has ordered the release on parole of labor union leader Amin Eleusinov.

The court's May 4 ruling would see the release of Eleusinov on May 21 unless prosecutors successfully appeal the decision, the court's press service told RFE/RL.

Eleusinov, a union leader at the Oil Construction Company (OCC), was sentenced to two years in prison in May 2017 after a court in Astana convicted him on embezzlement charges and for publicly insulting, assaulting, and refusing to obey a representative of state authority.

Eleusinov was arrested in January 2017 after hundreds of OCC workers went on a hunger strike to protest the closure of a trade union alliance.

The strike was stopped after a court in Astana declared it illegal.

Union activist Nurbek Qushaqbaev, who was arrested along with Eleusinov, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in April 2017 on charges of instigating an illegal strike.

Human rights activists in Kazakhstan and abroad have condemned the convictions, calling them politically motivated.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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