Disgraceful facts of torture by Minsk police
The mother of Pavel Plaksa, who was detained on suspicion of committing a theft on May 30, 2012, demands to conduct a full-scale investigation into the facts of using torture against her son.
After the arrest, Pavel Plaksa was taken to Minsk Leninski District Police Department, where he was reportedly subjected to torture by the policemen.
“After we left the investigative department, I received a phone call from a person who named himself as a policeman and told that Pavel was humiliated at the police department. He was reportedly deprived of food and water. He was not allowed visiting the toilet, too,” says Pavel Plaksa’s mother.
Pavel himself later told his lawyers that for three days he had been repeatedly and badly beaten by the policemen, who forced him to confess: he received numerous blows with fists and feet, they were jumping on his back and used so called “lastochka” (the swallow) position, when the detainee is forced face down on the ground and his legs are tied tightly with a rope to the handcuffed hands. He was then reportedly beaten with rubber sticks. After that, they put a plastic bag on his head.
Pavel was also subjected to psychological pressure: the policemen threatened to arrest his wife and put his two-month-old baby into hospital. The torture was only suspended when Pavel was visited by the investigators and the lawyers.
As a result, Pavel was forced to confess and taken to Minsk hospital No. 5. However, the results of the medical examination are yet unknown to his parents.
The illegal use of torture has been appealed by Pavel’s parents at various government bodies, including the Interior Ministry, prosecuting authorities and the standing committee on human rights of the Belarusian Parliament’s lower chamber. The latest reply known signed by investigator Mukasei says that the torture report “has been adjourned to the file of the investigations of 8 June”. “You will be notified of the results of the investigation,” says the reply.
However, human rights defenders fear the investigation will not be transparent and fair enough.
“The use of torture is an outrage against human rights. Torture is prohibited by both the national legislation and the international human rights standards. Considering the situation, we judge by the presumption of confidence in the information we received from the family of Pavel Plaksa. Since 30 May, i.e. the day of his detention, the entire responsibility for his health and life is born by the investigators and specific officials. So let them say why an ordinary and physically fit youth had to seek medical aid twice while being held at the police department and later taken to hospital,” says human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich.
Moreover, it should be emphasized that human rights defenders earlier reported similar situations, when prosecuting officials redirect appeals against police-related abuse to local departments of the Investigative Committee. As a result, they evade making use of their responsibilities of exercising control over investigators. As far as Pavel Plaksa’s case is concerned, his parents’ appeal against the use of torture by employees of Leninski District Police Department has been redirected to the Investigative Committee’s office of the same district, i.e. the authority that is in charge of Pavel’s case.
“We believe that the facts should be properly investigated, and those guilty should be established and prosecuted under the law. We are going to keep monitoring the situation and report on the case to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture,” says Valiantsin Stefanovich.