Ukrainian inmates paying bribes to go to war – NGO — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

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Kiev is starving for troops, and has allowed convicts to enlist in exchange for parole

Ukrainian inmates who want to cut their sentences short by enrolling in the military are being pressured by corrupt prison staff to pay bribes first, a local NGO claims.

Kiev, which faces a serious shortfall of manpower on the front line, has introduced a system that allows some inmates to apply for military service in exchange for early release.

The relevant law was passed in May, after being championed for months by Justice Minister Denis Malyuska, who claimed in interviews that murderers can make good combat soldiers. Only some violent criminals are eligible for the scheme.

In its current form, the mechanism is a hotbed for graft, Oleg Tsvily, who heads an NGO called Protection for Prisoners of Ukraine, told the news outlet Strana on Wednesday.

”Prison management considers a prisoner’s application for mobilization before handing it over to a commission. If it refuses to take the petition, the prisoner has no other way to enroll,” the activist explained.

The NGO has already received complaints that some inmates are being extorted by officials, he said.

”An inmate who has no money may be invited to pay it off as soon as he gets his first paycheck from the military. Sometimes they are told to testify against other convicts before getting a chance to mobilize. One has to be ‘useful’ to the prison staff,” Tsvily claimed.

Last week, the prisoners’ rights group published footage of a man being roughed up by guards upon arrival at a prison located in Poltava Region in central Ukraine. It came after the country’s State Investigative Bureau announced that it was probing the facility for the alleged torture of inmates in its custody.

The activist said the case was showing just a sample of the system of abuses and corruption which operates inside the national penitentiaries.

”The blackmail continues even after the person is freed: you pay or a video of your humiliation gets leaked online. The video that I published… prisoners managed to steal from the computer of an employee of the prison,” he told the news outlet.

The justice minister is well aware of the situation, he added, and does nothing because wardens tell him that this is what it takes to keep career criminals in check, Tsvily claimed.

According to Russia, Ukrainian forces are suffering significant battlefield casualties. President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday estimated the attrition ratio at 1 to 5 in his nation’s favor, and claimed that Kiev “loses about 50,000 people every month.”

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