Victim of violence still seeking prosecution of police officer
Viarheichyk was detained during a silent protest in 2011. She
was then charged with alleged disorderly conduct. The
lady was taken to Minsk Partyzanski District Police Department, where she was reportedly
beaten by the department’s then-deputy chief A. Pazniak.
After the incident, Sviatlana Viarheichyk had to undergo treatment in hospital. However, despite medical records and the fact that the charges against her were eventually dropped, the woman has been trying to get the policeman prosecuted for nearly two years already.
Her first complaint was filed on July 15, 2011 – 11 days after the detention. A month later, the Prosecutor's Office of Minsk Kastrychnitski district ruled to terminate the criminal case for lack of evidence in the actions of the law enforcement authority.
However, as a result of a later investigation and examining a video footage taken at the police department, it was established that deputy chief A. Pazniak used physical force against Sviatlana Viarheichyk and thus violated Par. 1. and 2 Art. 26, 27 of the Law “On the Internal Affairs Bodies of the Republic of Belarus”. It was also found that during the detention Pazniak did not present his ID, and was wearing civilian clothes. Moreover, the use of force was not recorded in a special register, as required by the law.
On February 2, 2012, Sviatlana Viarheichyk submitted an appeal against the denial to the Investigative Committee of Kastrychnitski district for further investigation. Meanwhile, policeman A. Pazniak was promoted to the district police chief of the Investigation Committee.
After investigating the appeal, Senior Investigator Pudau ordered to deny prosecution. Moreover, the decision was approved by the Investigation Committee’s district police chief, that is, the very policeman Pazniak, whose actions were contested. The order was signed by Pazniak.
Since the actions of investigator Pudau violate Par. 2. Art. 140 of the Code for Criminal Procedures (it is prohibited to delegate the consideration of complaints to the authority, whose actions are appealed or who approved the decision), the decision was reversed and the case file was sent to Partyzanski district department of the Investigation Committee. However, a decision issued by senior investigator Liashuk was the same as those by his colleagues – to deny prosecution.
But the decision was not final – as it turned out, investigator Liashuk failed to investigate all the circumstances of the case; therefore, the chief of procedural control section of the Investigative Committee’s Minsk Department Klishevich overturned the decision and sent the case file back to the IC’s district department for an additional check-up. However, after during all further checks investigator Liashuk failed to fulfill all the instructions, namely he did not question all the witnesses who were detained in July 2011 along with Sviatlana Viarheichyk.
Some clarifications in responses issued by police officers deserve special attention. For example, the chief of Minsk’s Kastrychnitski police department Biassmertny said: “On 06.07.2011, A. Pazniak executed the task of protecting public interests from other unlawful acts, and in the absence in the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On the Bodies of Internal Affairs” a clear definition of “physical force”, Pazniak’s actions against Viarheichyk should not be considered as the application of physical force, but as the use of physical pressure” (response of 16 September, 2011).
Mrs. Viarheichyk says she is preparing another complaint – to the Prosecutor of Partyzanski District of Minsk.