In a shocking scene filmed in Ukraine, police officers would not intervene as a group of radicals staged a pillorying of a man, whom they branded a pedophile and a supporter of the Russian world.
The impromptu medieval public punishment happened in Chernigov, a city in northern Ukraine with a population of less than 300,000. The victim was apparently the man, who was detained a few days ago by the local police for throwing a bottle at a monument to the Heavenly Hundred, the victims of the 2014 Maidan violence. Police at the time identified the man as a convicted sex offender of minors, who had been released from prison a month earlier after serving a lengthy sentence.
The controversial video was livestreamed on Facebook by Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, who according to his page has ties to the notorious Azov Battalion, a unit in the Ukrainian Interior Ministry with strong ties to right-wing radicals and neo-Nazis. The half-hour clip shows a couple of young men sitting a few meters from a road sign pole. Tied to the pole is a man, who seems to be in his 60s, with a note taped to his chest. The note says: “I am a vatnik [derogatory term for a Russian used in Ukraine]. I was raped in jail. I damaged the monument to the Heavenly Hundred. Spit at me.”
During the 30 minutes shown the cameraman repeatedly calls the pilloried man a pedophile and a supporter of the “Russian world” who wants to go to Russia. He angrily confronts witnesses when they demand the man be freed and spits at the victim.
Probably the most shocking moment comes six minutes into the livestream, when a police patrol stop and a couple of officers arrive at the scene. Instead of stopping the punishment, a male officer is seen shaking the hand of the cameraman, who declares: “These are the patrollers that we bought off, everything is fine.” And indeed, the officers do nothing to interfere and seem to buy the executors mocking explanation that the victim “tied himself to the post”.
Only 20 minutes later, when more police officers, an ambulance and a crew from the local media arrived on the scene, was the man released. The cameraman loudly objected when officers untied the unresponsive man before descending into a loud shouting match with a journalist about whether mob justice had a place in Ukraine.
“Dont you talk to me that way,” the journalist shouted. “Or do you plan to tie me to that post too?”
“I will tie you,” the cameraman promised.
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