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Demonstrators protest alleged torture of anti-graft bureau staff by prosecutors

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Activists sit with their hands tied and with their faces covered on Aug. 17 at a protest against the alleged torture of employees of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau by prosecutors.

About 150 demonstrators rallied in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office building in Kyiv on Aug. 17 to protest the alleged torture of employees of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau by prosecutors.

The bureau on Aug. 15 released testimony by its employees according to which they were beaten and tortured by prosecutors of the anti-corruption department headed by Volodymyr Hutsulyak and Dmytro Sus.

Hutsulyak and Sus have been accused of fabricating political cases on behalf of President Petro Poroshenko’s grey cardinals Ihor Kononenko and Oleksandr Hranovsky. They deny the accusations.

The protesters demanded that the authorities stop cracking down on the bureau’s independence and called for increasing its powers. They also demanded firing the prosecutors guilty of torture and prosecuting them, liquidating the department of Sus and Hutsulyak, creating an anti-corruption court and choosing a new prosecutor general through an open and transparent competition.

Sergii Leshchenko, a reformist lawmaker from the Poroshenko Bloc, said that Hranovsky was planning to file a motion with the Constitutional Court to strip the anti-corruption bureau of part of its powers.

Artem Sytnyk, head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, said on Aug. 15 that the prosecutors had illegally broken into a safehouse where bureau employees were based. The bureau staff were conducting surveillance of the prosecutors.

As a result, they had to call the anti-corruption bureau’s special-force unit, which helped to release the bureau employees.

The bureau employees said the prosecutors had hit them in the ribs, necks, jaws and legs. The prosecutors also threatened to flay them and to cut out an eye with a knife, the bureau employees claimed.

Sus’ version of the events was different. He told News.One on Aug. 12 that he and other prosecutors had been followed by bureau detectives and invited them to their offices. Then the bureau’s special-force unit arrived and beat up the prosecutors, according to Sus.

A source with knowledge of the matter told the Kyiv Post that Sus was a suspect in an unlawful enrichment case.

Sus has admitted using an Audi Q7 car and claims that he bought it with his $12,000 annual salary. The car, which costs about $40,000, was not included in Sus’ 2015 declaration and is registered to the woman who is reportedly Sus’ grandmother.

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