Investigative Committee: observers were detained after election because riot police were looking for terrorists
The Tsentralny District Department of the
Investigative Committee in Minsk responded to complaint
illegal detention of participants in the project "Election
Observation: Theory and Practice."
As it follows from the answer, the detention of the observers the day after the end of the Parliamentary election was connected with "information that a group of criminals, people from the Republic of Kazakhstan, could be hiding in Belarus and prepare a terrorist act", informs the website of the project.
The day after the Parliamentary election of 23 September 2012 15 independent observers were unlawfully detained in the "Jazz" hostel. The observers were guarded to the Tsentralny District Police Department together with the hostel staff and other dwellers. There they were forcedly fingerprinted, and their belongings were searched. Telephones and laptops of some of the detainees were temporarily taken away. All detainees were released three hours after the detention without getting any explanations.
"On 24 September 2012 I was detained in the "Jazz" hostel in Minsk [...] by unidentified people, probably policemen and riot policemen. Apart from me, there were detained 25 people, some of whom I knew," reads the complaint of the head of the project" Election Observation: Theory and Practice» (EOTP) Anastasiya Matchanka. In her complaint Matchanka asked to identify the people who had conducted the detention and examine the legality of this action. A similar appeal to the investigative organs was filed by the lecturer of the European Humanities University Tatsiana Chulitskaya, who had also been detained on 24 September.
As it follows from the answer given to the Investigative Committee by the Tsentralny DPD of Minsk, the detention of the observers had been conducted on the basis of an anonymous telepone call about the threat of terrorism.
"At 10 o'clock the police hot-line received a telephone call from an anonymous, who stated that a group of people of Caucasian nationality was living in the hostel without registration. The man also explained that they could be involved in terrorist activities," reads the answer of the Investigative Committee.
"As far as before this the Ministry of Internal Affairs had received information that a group of criminals, natives of the Republic of Kazakhstan, might be hiding in the Republic of Belarus and preparing a terrorist attack, the information received from the telephone call was reported to the Main Police Bureau of the Minsk City Executive Committee, which decided that the dwellers of the hostel were to be guarded to the police department for identification, and dactylographic and video registration".
The answer also states that three citizens of Kazakhstan were really found in the hostel and taken to the police department in a paddy wagon under the direction of the commander of the riot police platoon Viktar Marachkou.
The Investigative Committee refused to initiate criminal proceedings against the police referring to absence of corpus delicti. However, it failed to explain to the observers why they were forced to stand facing the wall for two hours at the DPD, and why the police had taken away their laptops and cellular phones.