The head of an illegal Izolyatsia (Isolation) prison in the "Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is detained in Kyiv. The place has a terrible reputation thanks to the published testimonies of victims who got out of there: the prisoners were tortured, shocked, drowned, beat, and raped there.
According to the official data of the Security Service of Ukraine and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the detainee is Denys Kulykovsky, nicknamed "Palych." Law enforcers claim that it was he who organized and participated in the killings and torture of prisoners.
Let's talk in more detail about who Denis Kulykovsky is and about the stage of proceedings open against him, as well as what the Izolyatsia prison is like.
Who is Kulykovsky?
Denys Kulykovsky was born on August 8, 1984, he is 36 years old. He worked in the penitentiary service and was the head of a detachment and an operative in the 97th Makiyivka colony.
He joined the militants of the so-called DPR in 2014 - he was "the controller of the security department of the Logistics Department of the DPR Ministry of State Security". Until February 2018, Kulykovsky was in charge of the Isolation prison in Donetsk.
Kulykovsky was called "Aid", but he is better known as "Palych". Former prisoners call Denys "Palych" the cruelest of Izolyatsia's employees.
Details of the criminal proceedings
Law enforcers detained Kulykovsky in Kyiv on November 9. The SBU claims that he was detained as part of a previously open criminal proceeding under 4 articles of the Criminal Code:
- 149 (human trafficking);
- 258-3 (creation of a terrorist group or terrorist organization);
- 260 (creation of paramilitary or armed formations not provided for by law);
- 438 (violation of the laws and customs of war).
He faces 8 to 15 years in prison with confiscation of property or life imprisonment. Kulykovsky was taken to court in Mariupol to choose a preventive measure, as well as to obtain additional information about his illegal activities.
Interior Ministry spokesman Artem Shevchenko said on the air of the Dom channel that the police had been collecting data on Palych for a year and a half. A large volume of investigative actions was carried out, including the interrogation of the victims - there were about 166 of them. Kulykovsky was informed in absentia of the suspicion a year ago.
At the moment, the Prymorsky court of Mariupol is choosing a measure of restraint for Kulykovsky, reports "Suspilne". The prosecutor's office requires two months in custody for the detainee.
He told reporters that he admits guilt and regrets what he had done. During the meeting, Kulykovsky said that for the last two years he had lived in the capital, had not worked anywhere, and "friends" helped him to rent apartments for living. "Palych" said that his son and his grandfather live in occupied Donetsk, and his wife is in a pre-trial detention center in the "DPR".
In addition, law enforcement officers identified and identified 45 members of the criminal group who tortured Ukrainians in the Izolyatsia prison. In September of this year, the materials against eight war criminals were sent to court for conviction in absentia.
According to Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky, after the return of the prisoners of Izolyatsia to Ukraine, the police talked to each victim of the militants. According to them, the militants tortured them with electric shocks through their genitals, placed them in a coffin and hammered them with nails, imitated executions, and more, the minister said. He assured that the crimes will not go unpunished.
What is Izolyatsia
In Donetsk, in 2010, one of the largest cultural centers in Ukraine was opened on the territory of the insulating materials plant. World stars worked there: Daniel Buren, Boris Mikhailov, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.
In 2014, the platform was seized by armed men, all art objects were destroyed, and the premises were turned into a secret prison. Human rights organizations have no access to the territory.
Journalist Stanislav Aseev spent two and a half years in captivity and described the torture in detail in "Isolation" in the book "The Light Path. The History of a Concentration Camp". He was released in December 2019 as part of an exchange.
"They beat me up, drove them under bunks, made me bark like a dog. They made me sing the Russian anthem, and before that we sang various Soviet songs. This was done deliberately to block the screams of torture," Aseev writes.
He also claims that video cameras were installed in every cell, punishment cell, and basement, possibly containing evidence of crimes.
Teacher Natalya Karachor spent two years in captivity on charges of "espionage". She told the BBC about the details of the torture: she was forced to stand in the cell for 48 hours without sitting down, she lost consciousness. Once the teacher was taken to be shot.
Photos from Izolyatsia also leaked to the network: it shows the territory, prisoners' cells, a few square meters of barbed wire, corridors, a torture table in the basement with scotch tape used to tie the victim, and phone wires are wrapped around limbs, doused with water and start up the current.