In Belarus Tortures Continue to be Used against Peaceful Action Participants
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" continues to monitor the situation with tortures. The monitoring conducted aims to examine how the Republic of Belarus honors the UN Convention against Tortures and Other Brutal, Inhuman or Degrading Kinds of Treatment of 10 December 1984, which was ratified by our country.
The monitoring involves the use of evidence provided by street action participants, those who suffered from the police violence; information received from the activists of public organizations and political parties who have met with brutal treatment by the law enforcement agencies.
This information includes evidence from the Zubr movement activists beaten during the “We Remember!” action on 16 September 2005.
Below is information provided by the coordinator of the human rights service of the Zubr movement Iryna Toustsik:
“On 16 September some members of the community and I came out to Kastrychnitskaya Square to show solidarity with the families of the people who disappeared and the political prisoners, and all who do care about the future of Belarus (on 16 September 1999 Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski disappeared). Riot police started to ring the people with portraits of the disappeared people, and force them off the square. In response to the questions "Why?", we heard foul language and threats of physical reprisal. After a few minutes they started to use physical force, stamped on the people’s feet and twisted the arms of the action participants. As they did so, they continued to use bad language, insults and threats against the people with the portraits. I would not try to reproduce what they were saying because of f-words. Mikita Shutsiankou was grabbed by the face. Mikita had the traces of the fingers of a riot police officer. It did not matter to the riot police who they were dealing with: boys or girls. They pushed into the backs, heads, stomachs and chests. As a result, Natalia Ushko sustained a bruise of the right knee, which was registered in a policlinic. Mikita Sasim was taken to hospital with a craniocerebral injury (complaint filed with the procurator’s office). Paval Iukhnievich and Uladz Niestsier sustained injuries in the chest, back and legs. I (Iryna Toustsik) had bruises in the hands, because the riot police brutally grabbed me by the hands. In my opinion, much more people were beaten by the riot police on that day (16.09.2005). However, not all of those beaten could be found to have their injuries registered. Right after this action the 16th day of each month was declared a Day of Solidarity with Victims to Political Reprisals".
Evidence provided by an action participant Natallia Ushko: “I took part in the chain of concerned people on 16 September 2005 dedicated to the anniversary of the disappearance of Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski. The riot police started to pull the people, using physical violence and foul language, threatened physical violance. As a result, hospital doctors registered an bruise of my right knee, the riot police also tore my jeans in several places, and also deliberately stamped on the legs and beat me in the chest”.
“I, Mikita Shutsiankou, took part in a Kastrychnitskaia Square action that was brutally dispersed by the riot police. The riot police used four letter words and brutal force against the action participants: they beat the people in the legs, kidneys and pushed them in the backs. One of them knocked the cap off my head and gave me a punch in the face, then I got a kick in the right leg, after which the bruised leg hurt for several days", says another participant of the action.
Paval Iukhnievich: “On 16 September 2005 I took part in the action devoted to the people who disappeared in Belarus. At about 6 p.m. I, like all the other action participants, stood with a portrait in Kastrychnitskaya Square. After several minutes, the riot police approached us and started to force off the square without explaining the reasons. Several other participants and I were forced to the Palace of the Republic, then the police ringed us and started to beat us in the head, kidneys and legs. During the beating they insulted us and used threats".
These cases show that the Belarusian authorities continue to use tortures against the participants of peaceful street actions.
The monitoring continues, the results will be sent to the UN Committee against Tortures and the Office of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) in Paris.