THE INVESTIGATION OF TORTURE IN BELARUS
The International Committee for Investigation of Torture in Belarus studied 101 cases to make a 1000 pages report on the tortures of Belarusians during the protests in Minsk on August 9-14, 2020.
The full report can be found here: https://torturesbelarus2020.org/en/vy-sdohnete-zdes/
On Solidarity with Political Prisoners in Belarus weekend, we publish two stories from this report. We ask everyone to share these testimonies. The crimes of the Lukashenka’s regime should not be forgotten.
“Walking yards of the CIP
The torture of the detainees continued in the walking yards. The security forces carried out “prevention” — they beat them with truncheons with the words: “What? Will you continue?” The detainees unanimously answered: “No, of course not.” However, they still received blows with truncheons.
It got very cold at night. The victims were freezing and therefore pressed tightly against each other. All were beaten and could hardly stand on their feet. They didn’t give food. Water was brought from the toilet in plastic bottles in a limited amount — about 2–3 bottles per 50 people per day. These bottles were also used for small needs, since there were no toilets in the walking yards. There were not enough bottles, and some people had to relieve themselves right there. If someone asked for food, to contact relatives or a lawyer they were beaten for this.
At about six or seven in the morning on August 11, the detainees heard people from the cells on the second floor knocking on the door and shouting “Let us out!”. According to the interviewees, within 15 minutes these people were taken to the corridor between two walking yards and severely beaten:
“At the beginning the dialogue was: ‘Who makes demands about food, phone calls and a lawyer?’. With these words, they simply began to beat them, they beat them for a very long time, people screamed, moaned. It was literally behind the wall, we heard it all.”
Some of the victims were in a stressful state, from shock they did not understand what was happening to them. The victims were not provided with medical assistance.
“You are talking to a person, and he is like this: ‘Did you do it to me? Why did you guys beat me up like that? Where is my wife?’”
“One guy had a scalped head because one of the riot police cut off his hair along with the skin on the crown. Blood oozed from there, there was a fresh wound. We asked for medical help, as many were ill.”
Yard of the CIP
At night, with an interval of 30–40 minutes, more and more people were brought to the CIP. Someone was placed against the wall, someone was ordered to kneel so that the buttocks lay on their heels, their head rested on the ground, their hands were behind their backs or behind their heads. The position is very painful, as all parts of the body become numb, and people were forced to be in this position for a large number of hours. It was very cold, but it was not possible to snuggle up to each other.
The officers approached and asked each detainee for personal data, they had to shout out their first and last name, year of birth. If someone did not shout loudly enough, they beat him. At the same time, they were searched, taking everything out of their pockets (later it turned out that money had been stolen from many of the detainees). Medical assistance was not provided, they did not take them to the toilet, they did not give water, they insulted and beat people. Some were beaten so that they could not walk, they lay on the ground, their bodies no longer reacted to the beatings. Those who could not walk were laughed at and mocked by the staff. They constantly asked: “Who paid you? Where is 50 euros?”
“A deaf-mute was beaten in my presence, because he could not answer questions.”
New groups of detainees were continuously brought in. They were beaten in one of the yards. That night, paint-marked people and bikers were especially severely beaten. Inside Akrestina, some detainees were also marked with a marker, including those who spoke Belarusian.
“These were terrible screams, it was something unimaginable. There was some kind of horror, as if their bones were cracking there, screams as if from the underworld. There were special instructions to beat harder those with tattoos with white-red-white colors of the national flag and a national coat of arms — Chase. Some of the victims shouted: ‘I love OMON’, while they were beaten with truncheons.
After that everyone was brought into the detention center building and forced to undress completely. All processes were accompanied by beatings. The victims testify to several badly beaten people who were coughing up blood.
“One guy who was beaten, apparently, was already very desperate and began to shout: ‘Shame! Shame! Shame!’ He already understood that they were beating him anyway, so at least it would be better to preserve his pride and dignity. This a priori meant that he would be beaten even more. And he deliberately went to great injuries. This is done either out of great willpower or out of desperation.”
That night, some girls were also beaten. The girl who was a biker was especially severely beaten.
Closer to six o’clock in the morning, some of the detainees were taken to the basement of the CIP. Those who could not run and fell were beaten with truncheons. At the same time, other detainees (about 15–20 people), who had been taken to the CIP earlier and were kept in cells, were taken to the courtyard, ordered to lie on the ground and security officials started beating their legs with truncheons, after which they were forced to sit down 50 times near the wall. Those who, in the opinion of the employees, did it poorly, were even stronger beaten on the legs.
“And such a sound of impact, as if they were hitting plastic, on a car. You hear how this riot policeman is directly groaning, suffocating, physically already tired of the fact that he is beating. And he directly screams, as if he is preparing for this blow, and he puts all his strength that he can put into it. And he beats one person. And he doesn’t hit alone. It was just terrible.”
When the security officials got tired, they changed, and the beatings began with renewed vigor. All this went on until morning.