Response stories

“Do police defend me?”

Only for the first half of 2021 year, REActors in Kyrgyzstan registered 166 appeals on cases involving one of the key group — people who inject drugs (PWID). Alas, one of the most customary reasons for such requests is… law enforcement. PWID are more likely to face violations, threats of physical violence, extortion of money, and abuse of authority rather than get their help. Next, one of the recent true stories.

Confess and you won’t get anything!

** August 2021, the client was at a bus stop in the *** district (****, *** region) and was waiting for passengers as he moonlighted as a taxi driver. Two young Kyrgyz approached and asked for a ride to the city center. When the client delivered them to final destination, they paid and told him to wait. After 10 minutes, three young guys got into the car without asking, hit the client twice in the chest and started recording everything on the phone. The people were in civilian clothes, did not introduce themselves, did not explain who they were, handcuffed the man and took him out of the car in a humiliating way, disparaging him. Afterwards, they began to inspect the car and the client’s personal belongings as well. After a while, two plastic bags and scales were taken out of the car. The client forthwith claimed that it did not belong to him, then sadly, he was battered, maltreated and his ribs were broken. After weighing the contents of the packages, according to the unknown people, there were 200 grams of marijuana and 143 grams of heroin. As it became clear later, these people were operational officers of the District Department of Internal Affairs of one of the districts of the *** region. All the incident was captured on a phone camera.

The operatives said that if the client had confessed, then half would be given to him. And while the investigation of the case is going on, he will not be in need of anything, and his family will be assisted in all their demands. He cast aside the offer. Then representatives of the internal organs turned off the phone camera, punched and smashed the man repeatedly. They insulted and rebuked him, then suddenly they began to promise to “Let him go”, and subsequently they took off the handcuffs and hitched the client in the car to the police department. They brought me through the duty department in an embrace, like a friend. In the office, they called me “AIDS-positive, drug addict, convict” in every possible way, stroke me repeatedly and violently. They said that they had been looking for him for a long time, allegedly he also robbed the apartment.

At 3 A.M., the client could not stand it and wrote a candid confession, under dictation, and only then was he given a drink of water and a smoke. He also offered five thousand dollars to “hush up” the case and at six in the morning everyone drove to his house in his car. The client was warned that if he “throws out the trick”, they will immediately put him in jail, the papers are already ready and will go in the course. Being at home, he asked to go into the bedroom alone, so as not to frighten his wife and children. Once in the room, the client closed the door, managed to take his son’s phone and jumped out the window that overlooks the neighbor. There he hid in a septic tank (a pit where all the sewerage from the house goes). They searched for him for a long time, but they didn’t find him, the neighbor also said that he didn’t see anyone and asked the operatives to leave, otherwise he would call 102. Before leaving, the police department officers told the client’s wife that if he came in the morning, then nothing would happen to him, otherwise he will be kept in prison for a long time.

** August the client called the NGO and partially explained the situation. He was given REActor’s phone number, they met at the appointed place, where the man told all the details of the above offense.

What was done by REActor:

The client was granted shelter outside the area of residence. There he completely came to his senses, similarly concurred to work on the same territory (caring for cattle, and the elderly owners of this place). The man refused to go anywhere, fearing for his son, since he is already a teenager, so REACTOR went himself to one of the directors of the state institution and told the whole situation. He contacted the prosecutor’s office, and a couple of hours later the REACTOR was invited for a conversation. The prosecutor’s office said he would look into it.

Happy end

** August 2021, the prosecutor’s office gave an verbal answer that the client would not be tocuhed by anyone. It turned out that on that unfortunate day for him, two operatives and an investigator got into the car. The investigator was fired (on a different case, but still, he no longer works), and the operatives received a warning from the management that they themselves would be imprisoned for such actions. Since September, the police stopped disturbing the client.

REActor: “In my judgement, the success of the result also lies in the fact that the work was done despite the client’s desire to solve the case and the refusal to officially file a complaint with the prosecutor’s office, since both ill-treatment and torture took place. Assistance was provided by REACTOR independently, in cooperation with the mentor and the head of the Harm Reduction Network Association. Even without the participation of the client, but a positive result was achieved, and most importantly, he was contented!”