Hundreds of independent journalists and citizen protesters in Belarus are being targeted and exposed to severe atrocities during detention. After disappearing for several days released detainees tell of torture, violence and ill-treatment in the prisons. IRCT is following the situation with enormous concern.
On August 8 2020, Belarus had its President elections. After the first exit polls, protests broke out in all of the country. Police and military are reportedly using weapons of violence to target and wound protesters, kidnapping journalists and using torture in prisons cells:
“They put 65 people in a cell 4.5 by 4.5 meters. We took turns to sit on the floor. We were given 2.5 liters of water for 65 people, stretching each one a sip. I would be lying if I say that we were not fed – they gave us a loaf of black bread. One loaf. For 65 people. The toilet was also a luxury, and going to the toilet was accompanied by ridicule and shouting. Three people peed at the same time in order to do it in the allotted time”
In the corridors, people were severely beaten if they asked for food or to call a lawyer. They begged to stop, but instead answers there were told: “You knew where you were going. You knew where you will end up. Here’s a change that you asked for”. It is very scary to hear groans and kicks with boots against the body.
“Before releasing us, they bullied us in the yard. We were forced to do army exercises. Those who could not do what they asked were beaten with bats. After that, crawling on the ground, we were brought to the fence and released”.
Those that have experienced torture and ill-treatment will be in need of fast rehabilitation to recover form the atrocities and the severe human rights breaches.