Over 300 oppositionists got arrested during IIHF World Championship in Minsk
Andrej Tkachou, a 28-year old fitness instructor and event-manager, tells in his blog how spent 15 day in the jail in Akrescina Street in Minsk.
On 7 May he was invited to a preventive talk at a police station, which ended up with falsified charges on “hooliganism and insubordination to police”.
“It is a secret to no one that there is a list of the so-called “unreliable” citizens of Belarus, who from time to time dare to express their opinion, and some even go as bold as to attend officially allowed manifestations and meetings. Had it been upon the will of certain narrow-minded, but industrious, law enforcers, being on such a list would have equaled a state treason and would have been punished with 25 years of being shot. As you probably have already guessed, I am not the last person on the list”, - he writes.
Andrej Tkachou points out that the level of the security measure taken before and in the course of the championship was unprecedented. Law enforcers were brought from all over the country, the whole contingent was involved up to police academy students.
“It is even redundant to mention that the scale of repressions against dissidents and “the unreliable” was like an anti-terrorism operation. People were followed in the streets, ambushed near their houses, police broke into their home and took them straight from workplaces. The heartless and well-tested mechanism in action. Handcuffs click, cops puff over protocols, and iron doors of the jail cells slam behind you”.
Outrageous human rights violations, falsified protocols, open kidnappings of activists, tortures and mockery – this is the reverse side of the championship that everyone is so enthusiastic about. If you think that these were only oppositionists, who got under the repressions steamroller, then you are fiercely mistaken. By my humble estimations, the number of political prisoners in May accounted to no less than 300 people”, - Andrej Tkachou writes.
He emphasizes that information only on several dozen of the detained got into the media.
“80% of them had no counsels, even human rights activists did not know about them, because in their majority these were absolutely random people rather than “experienced” prisoners. This does not include the many hundreds of people, forcedly sent to labour camps, the total cleansing of “anti-social elements”, simply put – the homeless, prostitutes, drunkards etc., out of Minsk.
We may say that simultaneously with the Ice Hockey World Championship there was a domestic championship in repressions against the citizens”, - Andrej Tkachou notes.
He shared the details of his arrest. The activist emphasizes that after 2012 he has not been involved in political activities.
“For me it all started quite typically – they came after me at home. Good thing that I was not there, and the criminal investigation agents (they were the ones to bear the heavy burden of political persecution) left in order to rejoice the next day, since I made a terrible mistake, as I see it now, I came myself.
Yes-yes, you heard me right, I came voluntarily, without any coercion, to a police station as soon as I learnt about the uninvited quests. At the moment it seemed that the interests to me was due to the old memories, because of my epic arrests in 2011-2012, when I was an administrator of protest groups on the VKontakte social network. Then it was at least connected with my activities and went much merrier – with doors being broken, seizure groups, KGB interrogations and confiscation of computer equipment and phones”, - he writes.
Andrej Tkachou said that after having served 15 days in the jail in Akrescina Street, he was taken back to the police station and threatened to be put back in jail. We would point out that many activists were arrested again, after having been released.