Investigative Committee covers up police torture?
The Investigative Committee of Belarus has refused to initiate prosecution of a number of Minsk policemen who reportedly tortured Pavel Plaksa detained on suspicion of a theft on May 30, 2012. Meanwhile, Pavel Plaksa is still in custody at Zhodzina pre-trial prison.
An official reply from the Investigative Committee’s Minsk Leninski District Department says that it investigated the torture report submitted by Pavel Plaksa’s parents. However, the Committee will not open a criminal case, as the policemen’s actions were legal.
Pavel’s father says the policemen who arrested his son are Dzmitry Kaniukhevich, Aliaksandr Lishko and Andrei Dabravolski. The names of two more policemen who reportedly tortured Pavel Plaksa in Leninski District Police Department were mentioned in the report on the investigation: Raman Mikhniuk and Andrei Zhuk.
“The Investigative Committee’s report describes them as “diligent officers” who do nothing but solve crimes. Now we can see how they do it – with the use of violence. Those who detained Pavel said they had presented their IDs and requested that Pavel followed them to Leninski Police Department, which he reportedly rejected and attempted to hide in a different room. They then reportedly put him down on the floor and handcuffed him. They also argue that the bruise he received was caused by his falling down. However, the results of a later medical examination say that the injury was not the result of falling down, but caused by a solid object,” says Pavel Plaksa’s father.
He also stresses that the investigators failed to question the witnesses of the arrest – Pavel’s girlfriend and a neighbour, who later said he did not resist the arrest and had no bruises on his face when leaving the apartment.
Human rights defenders have repeatedly criticized the efficiency of investigations into police-related abuses conducted by the employees of the same law-enforcement bodies. In Pavel Plaksa’s case, his parents’ complaint against personnel of Leninski District Police Department was redirected to the Investigative Committee’s Minsk Leninski District Department, i.e. the body in charge of investigating the charges brought against Pavel, where former employees of the Police Department work.
Moreover, there is nearly no information on Pavel Plaksa’s current state of health. “He cannot write himself, because his right hand has grown numb. His mother has sent him two letters lately, and there is no reply yet,” says Pavel’s father. He also says Pavel has not received any medical treatment for six weeks. The fact has been appealed at the administration of Zhodzina prison where Pavel is held. A reply from the prison said Pavel had been examined by a doctor, who diagnosed him with a pinched nerve on his right wrist. However, it is yet unknown if Pavel is receiving any treatment for the injury.