Dmytro Bulátov, a leader of the Automaidan protest movement in Ukraine, re-emerged in public view on January 31 in Kyiv, more than a week after his disappearance. He showed evidence of torture: his face and clothing were covered with coagulated blood, his hands were swollen and showed puncture serious wounds.

Bulatov said that he had been arrested and kept imprisoned for more than a week and kept in constant darkness. During that time, he said, he was tortured by Ukrainian security forces. He said that he was violently beaten, nails pounded into his hands, while his face and ears were slashed with knives. “They crucified me, put nails in my hands. They slashed my ear, and cut my face. There isn’t a place on my body that hasn’t been beaten,” said Bulatov during an interview with local television. “Thank God, I’m still alive.”

Because he was blindfolded, Bulatov said that he cannot identify his torturers who beat him for a week. He was dumped in a forest by his captors and was then able to seek help.

Automaidan is the name of a group which have protested against President Viktor Yanukovich and the Ukrainian government's move to step away from further ties with the European Union. At least two persons have been killed in confrontations between protesters and police where there have been exchanges of gunfire and homemade gasoline bombs.

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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