Romani Man Released from Ukrainian Prison after Serving Six Years for Crime He Didn't Commit
18 May 2007
According to information provided the ERRC by the Ukrainian Romani organisation Romen, 45-year-old Iuri Visochinenko, a Romani man from Ukraine's Kharkov Oblast, was released from jail on 26 August 2006 after having served six years for a crime he did not commit.
Romen reported that Mr Visochinenko was arrested on 26 July 2000 for the suspected murder of a woman on 14 April 1989. Despite having an alibi, corroborated by several witnesses, Mr Visochinenko was convicted and imprisoned. Mr Visochinenko testified that he was tortured and beaten while being interrogated and forced to confess to a crime he did not commit. According to Mr Visochinenko, his alibi was not taken into consideration during the investigation and some materials from the files that prove his alibi have gone missing. While in prison, Visochinenko claims he experienced inhumane conditions. He was reportedly tortured by the prison officers and subjected to intense psychological pressure. During the course of his incarceration, his mother passed away and his father became very ill; Mr Visochinenko was not permitted to attend his mother's funeral.
Mr Visochinenko's case highlights the very serious violations of basic human rights experienced by Roma in relation to the criminal justice system in Ukraine.