Analytical note of human rights defenders concerning the conditions of transportation, trials and imprisonment of the detained participants of the action of protest on 19 December

2011 2011-01-13T21:27:39+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

This analytical note was prepared on the basis of the information that was obtained on 3-5 January 2011 from 73 individuals, which includes 61 questionnaires, filled in with their own hand, and personal interviews of 12 detainees. 

1. Actions of law-enforcement agencies on the Independence Square and in some other parts of Minsk
1.1. The majority of interviewees witnessed the use of force on behalf of riot police officers while detaining people. 
1.2. Police gear (truncheons) were also used towards the interviewed participants of the public meeting. 
1.3. Some interviewees were random pedestrians and did not take part in the demonstration. 

2. Transportation of detainees
2.1. As some interviewees witnessed, the number of detainees in special vehicles, which belong to Ministry of the Interior of Republic of Belarus, amounted to 70 people (while maximum number of seating places is around 30) 
2.2. One interviewee claimed that the number of detained persons was 71 persons in one of the minibuses.
2.3. As the majority of interviewees stated, detainees were prevented from using toilet (with the exception of the detainees in one special police vehicle).
2.4. Almost all of interviewees claimed that the police refused water to detainees.
2.5. It took from 2 to 3 hours to transport detainees.

3. Conditions in detention centers
3.1. Detention center in Akrestsin Street
3.1.1. The interviewed detainees were kept in special police vehicles from 40 minutes to 3 hours.
3.1.2. After being kept in special police vehicles interviewees were compelled to stay outside for 30-40 minutes.
3.1.3. As the majority of the interviewed stated, detainees were not allowed to use toilets (except the detainees, kept in one of the special police vehicles) for about 9 hours. 
3.1.4. As all interviewees witness, they were all made to stand facing the wall of the corridor and holding their hands behind their backs for 2-3 hours. After that they were allowed to sit on the floor.
3.1.5. At least 3 hours later detainees were taken for the formal procedures in groups, there they sat or lay on the floor, waiting for the formal procedures. Meanwhile, as some of the interviewed witnessed, riot police officers kicked some of the detainees, who were lying on the floor while passing them by.  
3.1.6. Formal procedures regarding a part of the detainees were started 12 hours after the detention (the bulk of detention episodes took place, as interviewees witnessed, since 10 p.m. till 2 a.m.), and all this time detainees were deprived of sleep.
3.1.7. Any kind of food or water was not provided to the detainees, with an episodic exception (two interviews show that after trials in one of the police special vehicles riot police officers at their own initiative provided the arrested with food), and it was first time provided more than 30 hours after the detention.
3.1.8. Water started coming from the bathroom tub only 8 hours after the detainees had been transported to the place.
3.1.9. Relatives were not informed by the authorities about the detentions.

3.2. District police departments of Minsk
3.2.1. As interviewees state, the treatment they got from police officers was generally better than the one on behalf of riot police officers, though several witnesses claim there were some instances of battery at the Kastrychnitski District Police Department.
3.2.2. At the same time the arrested witnessed, that students were questioned by presumably KGB officers, who compelled them to read out loud the prepared text to be video recorded at risk of being expelled from higher institutions.
3.2.3. The under-aged female detainee was threatened with drowning in the toilet bowl and battery at the Kastrychnitski DPD, and her requests not to smoke addressed to the police officers, were ignored.   

4. Conditions of transportation to the courts, detention in court
4.1. During the transportation detainees to court the number of passengers, clearly exceeded the allowable (two seats for six people)
4.2. In court buildings detainees up to 8 persons were kept in rooms designed for two or three people

5. Trials
5.1. Almost all respondents witnessed that the materials of administrative cases were prepared in an identical manner without taking into account the actual circumstances of detention.
5.2. The state attorney has not been provided in most cases when the interviewed detainees asked for his involvement in the process, a refusal to admit a lawyer hired by relatives of the detained was registered as well.
5.3. Witnesses for the defense weren’t interrogated according to all respondents.
5.4. According to all respondents, the duration of the trials did not exceed 10-15 minutes, and the position of the defense wasn't taken into account.
5.5. The procedure of appealing the court decisions was often not explained, or explained incompletely (the defenders often weren’t informed that they needed to pay the state fee, the opportunity to pay the fee wasn't given, the opportunity to apply for exemption from payment was not explained).
5.6. Copies of court decisions, according to the majority of respondents, were given at the end of the period of administrative detention (i.e., after the expiry of the appeal terms), but in the Maskouski District Court of Minsk copies of court decisions were usually given after the verdict was pronounced.
5.7. In the Zhodzina detention centre the papers for making complaints were given on the 4th day or after five days (the period of appeal is five days after the announcement of verdict), and the state attorney for the drafting of complaints was not provided.
5.8. In all recorded cases (except in cases of administrative offenses against the citizens of Russia), when complaints about judicial decisions were made, these complaints were not considered.

6. Transportation to detention centers
6.1. According to some respondents, the riot police officers, who were bringing prisoners to the Zhodzina detention centre, beat them at the entrance to the special police vehicle and also at the exit from it.
6.2. According to one of the arrested, he witnessed the beating of the arrested by riot police officers for the purpose of forcing him to sing the song Sanya will be with us.

7. Detention
7.1. General
7.1.1. Drinking water was not provided
7.1.2. Low quality of food service, some respondents reported cases of diarrhea among the arrested
7.1.3. Qualified medical assistance was not always provided.
7.1.4. Beddings (mattresses, blankets, bed linen) wasn’t always given.

7.2. Zhodzina detention center
7.2.1. According to all respondents, the temperature was acceptable, but it was stuffy there.
7.2.2. Toiletries were not given.
7.2.3. According to many respondents, there were insects in cells (cockroaches).
7.2.4. Not all respondents were taken out for walks and those who were taken - only once every 2-3 days for 15-30 minutes in the courtyard 5x4 meters, or in the corridor.
7.2.5. In Zhodzina fluorescent lights were turned off at night, a weaker bulb was switched on.
7.2.6. Toilets in some cells consisted of a toilet bowl with a high barrier, and in some others – of a hole in the floor with a low wall (no higher than 1 m)

7.3. Detention center at the Minsk District Police Department
7.3.1. According to the respondents, during the first 3-4 days they were kept in a cold, unheated cell and had to sleep in outerwear
7.3.2. At night the light wasn't switched off.
7.3.3. According to one of the respondents, the provided food was cold, the first two days breakfast wasn't provided and was given only after statements about hunger strike
7.3.4. Walks were once a day for 15 minutes
7.3.5. Parcels were delivered not in the full extent, there were refusals to pass food.
7.3.6. Toilet was a hole in the floor with a low barrier.

7.4. Detention centre in Akrestsin Street
7.4.1. Beddings weren’t always provided and even if they were given, it happened on the 3-5th day of arrest.
7.4.2. Nobody was taken for a walk.
7.4.3. Some of the respondents witnessed that arrested were held in the cold, unheated cells.
7.4.4. Access to shower was given only 1-2 times (evidence is recorded that access to shower was given only after a collective complaint), for one of the respondent it was provided only after 8-9 days.
7.4.5. Food in parcels was transferred not always and not earlier than 25.12.2010г.

7.5. Placement center for under age
7.5.1. Detained girl was held until the evening of December 2010 in a cold, unheated room.
7.5.2. Beddings were not given and the detainee had to sleep on the floor.
7.5.3. Access to shower was not provided.
7.5.4. The detainee was denied access to toiletries.
7.5.5. The relatives of the detained girl weren't informed.

Conclusions from the analyzed information
1. Most of the respondents suffered from some form of violence;
2. Conditions of transportation and detention are described by all interviewed detainees or arrested people as inhuman and degrading treatment;
3. Trials of all interviewed detainees did not meet the criteria of a fair trial and were defined by a clear accusatory bias.