It’s a rare testimony that freezes.Ukrainian fixer assisted as a guide and interpreter Radio France team In Ukraine in late February and early March, he was abducted and tortured by Russian troops for nine days. Radio France warned Reporters Without Borders on March 8 of his disappearance and French authorities.
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Nikita (his Renamed to ensure security), 32 years old is a fixer. He is one of the essential local guides to the work of foreign journalists in endangered areas. He was abducted by Russian troops on March 5. He was detained for nine days and told France Amfo about the mechanical shootings, electric shocks, iron rod beatings, and simulated death sentences he received. His story today is similar to a miracle story.
Like other journalists and media collaborators, his car was deliberately fired by a Russian fighter on March 5 when he tried to reach the village where his family had been evacuated alone. rice field. His car is bombarded by a machine and he hits a tree while trying to escape. Russian soldiers arrest him, he is cross-examined very hard: the blow rains, he is a civilian, and he explains that he is an interpreter and corrector for foreign journalists.Russian soldiers believe he is a spy or military scout leading the bombardment
Nikita was beaten in the face with a rifle’s butt, his body threatened with a knife was thrown into a ditch, and he was subjected to a mock execution. “VSEspecially the first dayWhen [le 5 mars]It was very violent. “, He says. He is taken to the woods by his soldiers, tied to a tree and placed barefoot. He was again beaten with a machine gun and the butt of an iron rod and lost consciousness several times. “After the cross-examination, the local commander ordered me not to touch until March 8. Whether it was tied to a tree or cold … it was nourished and warmed by the fire. “
Nikita, who was detained for three days in nature, where night temperatures tend to drop to -5 ° C, was transferred about 40 minutes later, interrogated and tortured again on March 8. He describes 3-4 electric shocks at his leg height, 5-10 seconds each time.
“They put electricity on my feet and tortured me. They asked me all the questions again.”
Along with two other civilians, Nikita is tied up and blindfolded, and he is transferred to a frozen, partially flooded basement of the house and trapped. After staying there for two days, he is taken to the basement of another house, where he is cross-examined again.
On March 13, Nikita and two other Ukrainians were finally released in the middle of the forest. Russian soldiers seem to be finally convinced that they are truly civilians. However, the injury of one of Nikita’s fellow prisoners is terrible. “”During detention, the person was hit hard in the head. He suffered an internal injury to his skull.He is being treated abroad“He emphasizes. Nikita has a bruised body, swollen legs, and constant difficulty in moving his hands. The doctor who examined him had hematomas on his head and body, and his right leg was swollen. According to the details of the RSF who attended the examination, the limbs were numb due to an electric shock.
Today, Nikita is safe somewhere in Ukraine with her family. A 30-year-old lawyer who has been a regular interpreter for foreign media since 2013. “Like all the fixers in the field of war” Take the risk “For freedom of information”, Emphasize Radio France in a press release. “Without them, we couldn’t do the essential job of reporting on-site to provide information in the event of a war or conflict.” Radio France is that “With deep gratitude. ”
Reporters Without Borders will send Nikita’s testimony to the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor on March 4 and 16, in addition to the two complaints the RSF has already addressed to him.
-Radio France (@radiofrance) March 21, 2022