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EU's Ashton 'appalled' by Ukraine torture, demands justice

AFP , Friday 31 Jan 2014
European Union foreign policy high representative Catherine Ashton (Photo: Reuters)
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EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Friday she was "appalled" by the torture and abductions of opposition activists in Ukraine and demanded the perpetrators be brought to book.

Commenting on the case of activist Dmytro Bulatov, who was found beaten with an ear sliced off after going missing for a week, Ashton said in a statement she was "appalled by the obvious signs of prolonged torture and cruel treatment."

Others, such as Yuriy Verbytsky, who was found dead January 22 after being abducted "have paid with their lives for exercising their civil rights", she said.

"These are but two cases of the continuous deliberate targeting of organisers and participants of peaceful protests," she added.

Ashton visited Kiev earlier this week for talks on defusing the ex-Soviet state's worst political crisis since independence.

"It is the authorities' responsibility to take all necessary measures to address the current atmosphere of intimidation and impunity which allows for such acts to take place.

"All unlawfully detained people have to be released and perpetrators brought to justice."

After talks in Brussels on Thursday, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso too issued a strong plea for those responsible for acts of violence and abductions in Ukraine to be identified and held accountable. 

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