Viktor Medvedchuk, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was arrested on Tuesday in a special operation carried out by Ukraine’s state security service, has been beaten while being interrogated in detention, his wife Oksana Marchenko said at a press conference in Moscow on Friday. 

After his arrest, Ukraine released two photos of the 67-year-old fugitive Ukrainian oligarch. While one of the photos, which showed him in handcuffs, was released on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s official Telegram account, the other was shared on Facebook by the country’s state security service or the SBU.

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Displaying the photos, his wife said that one of the pictures, which was allegedly taken before interrogation, showed no sign of injuries while the other, taken during questioning, showed her husband with his hair over his forehead.

“It shows a big bruise and marks which they have tried to conceal with his hair. There is no doubt that he was beaten in the first hours after his arrest,” she said at the press conference.

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Medvedchuk is facing between 15 years and a life in prison on charges of treason and aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation for mediating coal purchases for the separatist, Russia-backed Donetsk republic in eastern Ukraine. He escaped house arrest days before Russian invaded Ukraine on February 24. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, after Medvedchuk’s arrest, proposed that Moscow could win his freedom by trading Ukrainians now held captive by the Russians.

In reply, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said, “Those freaks who call themselves the Ukrainian authorities say that they want to beat testimony out of Viktor Medvedchuk, ‘quickly and fairly’, convict him, and then exchange him for prisoners.”