FIDH Representative addresses UN Special Rapporteur on Torture regarding repressions in Belarus
M. Manfred NOWAK
Special Rapporteur on Torture and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
Telefax : + 41 22 917 90 06
Geneva, 23 October 2009
Re: Appeal regarding individual cases of ill-treatment in Belarus / harsh repression of protests in Belarus
Attachment: complaint letters sent by the victims
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) would like to draw your urgent attention on the recent violent repression of peaceful protesters in Belarus.
Repression of protesters on 9 September 2009 on Kastrychnitskaya Square
On 9 September 2009, several tens of people gathered on Kastrychnitskaya Square in Minsk to protest against the arrival of a military contingent of the Russian Federation in Belarus, to participate in a joint Belarussian-Russian military training.
Shortly after the beginning of the protest, the riot police arrived and arrested about 20 protesters in a violent manner. Zmitser Dashkevich, leader of the Young Front, and Siarzhuk Karpovich, member of the BPF Youth were arrested preventively by officers in civilian clothes before reaching Kastrychnitskaya Square. Alina Radachynskaya, Viktar Ivashkevich, Zmitser Barodka, Zmitser Bandarenka, Uladzimir Lemesh and Aliaksei Sianchyla were pushed into buses where some of them were thrown down on the floor, beaten, insulted and threatened with rape. Uladzimir Labkovich and Valiantsin Stefanovich, representatives of the Human Rights Centre Viasna, visually observed the traces of beating on the faces of some of the detainees and received oral confirmation of these events.
The majority of the detainees were then guarded in the Tsentralny district police department in Minsk. The police officers refused to call an ambulance, despite their request for medical aid. They drew up a report about violation of Article 17.1 (petty hooliganism) of the Administrative Code on Zmitser Dashkevich, as well as reports about violation of Article 23.34 (violation of the order of organizing and holding mass events) on other detainees.
17 detainees were locked up in the centre for isolation of delinquents for the night. In the morning, they were taken to the Tsentralny district court of Minsk. At court, they told Uladzimir Labkovich from the Human Rights Center Viasna that the police had used excessive violence, for instance in the cases of Zmitser Barodka, who had a smashed nose; Maxim Serhiyets, who had a cut eyebrow; and Viktar Ivashkevich, who had a small hematoma on his face.
Repression of protesters on 16 September 2009 on Kastrychnitskaya Square
On 16 September 2009 several tens of people took part in a protest dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the kidnapping of the vice-speaker of the Belarussian Parliament Viktar Hanchar and his friend Anatol Krasouski. The protesters were holding portraits of V.Hanchar and A.Krasouski in their hands.
Shortly after the beginning of the protest, persons in civilian clothes and riot policemen started arresting the protesters. A total of 31 persons were arrested. Once violently forced into busses, Korban Aleh Mikhailavich, Siarheyenka Aliaksandr Uladzimiravich, Stsepanenka Aliaksandr Mikalayevich, Yuliian Valeryievich Misiukevich and the other protesters were beaten and threatened with expulsion from educational establishments and dismissals from work, with 15-day arrests.
They were then sent and detained at the Tsentralny district police department. Uladzimir Labkovich, representative of the Human Rights Centre Viasna questioned several persons after their release. They confirmed that the police officers had ill-treated some of the detainees.
For instance, the police beat the civil and political activist Mikalai Statkevich. At first they tried to make him stand with his legs wide apart and then hit him on the legs till he fell down on the floor.
Serhiyets Maxim Mikalayevich was caught by the pigtail and mocked, and once led in a separate room, four or five officers immobilised his arms and legs and cut his hair on the back of the head.
As Yuliian Valeryievich Misiukevich refused to give his fingerprints, he was led in another room, where a riot policeman and a man in civilian clothes threatened him with beating and arrest for his refusal, after which he was fingerprinted by force, without ground.
During their stay at the police department, Korban Aleh Mikhailavich, Siarheyenka Aliaksandr Uladzimiravich, Stsepanenka Aliaksandr Mikalayevich, and Yuliian Valeryievich Misiukevich reported that they had to stand facing the wall for three hours. Many of the interrogated also confirmed to Uladzimir Labkovich hearing rape threats from police officers to the detained women, as well as many other expressions that can be qualified as sexual harassment.
After these events, the Human Rights Center Viasna helped six persons drafting complaints to the Prosecutor's Office, which we attach to this letter.
We hope that you will be able to use the present submission within the framework of your mandate and we request your urgent intervention on this matter. We remain fully available, should you need any additional information.
FIDH Representative in Geneva
tel : (41) 22 700 1288 / fax : (41) 22 321 5488
FIDH Office to the United Nations in Geneva
c/o Maison des Associations, 15, rue Savoises – 1205 Geneva, Switzerland