Prisons are meant for the guilty. But in Ukraine – where it is legal to hold someone in pre-trial detention for up to 18 months – they have become a convenient dumping ground for everyone from asylum seekers to once influential government officials.

From arrest to appeals, every step of the Ukrainian judicial system appears to be rife with human rights violations.

Car batteries, heavy books and handcuffs were among the items the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union displayed in an anti-torture demonstration last week outside of the General Prosecutor’s office in response to widespread reports of abuse at the hands of Ukraine’s police.

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