On the night of October 28, workers of Ukrainian National Police broke into the Jugendhub night club in Kyiv searching the premises and arresting about 50 people. So far this is not an isolated incident, although being the most violent.
The official report says people living close to the club often complained on students and youth under drug and alcohol influence and suspected drug trade inside the club. 5 people had already been arrested following these complaints, all of them claim they purchased drugs from strangers inside the club.
During the recent raid, police arrested about 50 people among 200 visitors aged between 15 and 25 years. 17 people were apprehended for drug possession and another 32 for allegedly avoiding military service. The searched 20-year old barman reportedly kept small packages containing drug-like substances. Another man of 30 years also had digital scales. 11 underage visitors were returned to their parents, who received official notice. The police say that Jugendhub (opened in July) works without license in hazardous premises not complying with safety and sanitation regulations.
Although the official version reveals numerous severe violations, club owners and visitors, as well as their lawyers and civil activists point out inappropriate police actions during the search, such as brute force used against the attendants and theft. Jugendhub Facebook page says property belonging to both the visitors and the club (bar items, equipment and even clothing) was stolen. Head of Vostok-SOS (East-SOS) organization and human rights activist Oleksandra Dvoretska wrote that 32 people accused of avoiding army service (including a resident of the temporarily occupied Crimea who cannot be called to army in the absence of any legal mechanism) were brought to the recruitment unit without receiving mobilization notices and previous identification. She also thinks that medical documentation proving them eligible for service was falsified. Although they will not be dispatched directly to the zone of military conflict on the east of Ukraine, they cannot be recruited without preliminary legal procedures.
A female club attendant says she was taken for a man and put on the concrete floor, but allowed to stand only after explaining she was a woman. She was then pressed against the glass with her hands raised. She says that while standing she heard the sounds of beating and obscene requests to male visitors to remain on the floor. After a while, she was searched by a policewoman who raised her sweater and shook her bra, threatening to take her away if not remaining quiet. Another 16-year old girl was required to open her purse and to take out its contains. After police found eye drops, they mockingly asked if she used them to hide the signs of drug use, which made her panic. A journalist of Hromadske.ua who attended the club says the police beat everyone who had a phone or kept their hands down. They also called her friend “curly” and hit him with a truncheon. The visitors were required to take off their shoes and socks and lay on the floor. Everyone who raised their heads were poked by the officers. Numerous blood stains were left on the floor.
People reportedly hiding from army service were packed into a bus and taken to a recruitment unit, where they had remained being kept for not disclosing their personal details. Ambulance (called for the sick resident of Crimea), lawyers and family members were not allowed. Oleksandra Dvoretska writes that they were taken in pairs to a colonel and forced to sign some kind of papers. One of them told the press that only some students and residents of Donetsk had been let go. His mother was handed the mobilization notice, but refused to sign it (according to the law, it can be signed either by the recruit himself or by his close relatives). Those who were left had been examined by the medical commission.
Although the police said they possessed all necessary warrants, it had not been proved. Lawyers protecting the arrested youth insist that no official documents allowing searches of premises and visitors, as well as property confiscation were presented. The law only permits the search and confiscation of premises and articles listed in the warrant. They also say their clients were arrested illegally. Recruitment procedures require official notice to be handed and signed by the conscripts, but in this case they were taken and kept by force, not counting the police behavior during the raid. It is not known if all of 32 arrested people actually avoided service.
Representative from the office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights Mykhaylo Chaplyga comments on the situation condemning the raid and saying everyone responsible for it will face court trials.