News on the topic: detention conditions

Support has no boundaries: how to write letters to political prisoners if you are outside of Belarus

16.01.2021 Support has no boundaries: how to write letters to political prisoners if you are outside of Belarus

Viasna has prepared the answers to the most frequent questions foreigners ask when writing letters to political prisoners.

"They broke my nose and car because I had a white ribbon." Survivor stories

16.12.2020 "They broke my nose and car because I had a white ribbon." Survivor stories

On the night of August 11-12, 31-year-old Minsk resident Mikalai Bondar was literally dragged from his car by law enforcement officers for a white ribbon on his arm. The traffic and riot policemen smashed his car, beat him, broke his nose, and took him to the detention center.

Amnesty International: Tortured detainee denied medical care

15.12.2020 Amnesty International: Tortured detainee denied medical care

Viachaslau Rahashchuk is a taxi driver from the Belarusian city of Pinsk who was arbitrarily detained in 10 August and remains behind bars. He is in need of urgent medical treatment due to injuries he sustained from being tortured while in detention.

Violent protest dispersion resulted in a broken arm and a night at the detention center. Survivor stories

14.12.2020 Violent protest dispersion resulted in a broken arm and a night at the detention center. Survivor stories

My knee was seriously injured, and in general the right side of my body was just smashed. There was a real psychopath among the riot policemen. When he detained me, he was on my right side, and the other riot policeman was on my left. While my left side was injured, but not critically, my right side was just smashed.

"We felt like we were chickens brought to a cage with tigers." Survivor stories

11.12.2020 "We felt like we were chickens brought to a cage with tigers." Survivor stories

The riot police came out of the road police car. They poked their shotguns into our windows and told us to get out. We did. They put us on our knees and asked, 'Do you want change?' They hit us on the head with batons.

"Let's take him to the police van, let the guys have fun." Survivor stories

07.12.2020 "Let's take him to the police van, let the guys have fun." Survivor stories

I was quite brutally detained. They immediately grabbed my phone because I was in the middle of a conversation. They said a few words and put me on the ground or my knees, I do not remember that for sure. And then the beatings started.

"We brought you to the execution, guys." Survivor stories

04.12.2020 "We brought you to the execution, guys." Survivor stories

We ran up to the third floor crouched and were beaten with batons along the way. They put people in cells in threes. Our cell was meant for six people. After a while, there were 32 men in that cell.

A bartender talks about his 3-day arrest. Survivor stories

02.12.2020 A bartender talks about his 3-day arrest. Survivor stories

In 15 minutes, a police van arrived. They took us out of the bus, put us against the wall, told us to raise our hands above our heads and stand like that. A very aggressive riot policeman came out of the police van and started swearing and throwing detainees into the vehicle.

"A riot policeman sat on me in the police van and exclaimed: 'Look at my nice chair!'" Survivor stories

30.11.2020 "A riot policeman sat on me in the police van and exclaimed: 'Look at my nice chair!'" Survivor stories

Andrei Viarshenia was brutally pulled out of his car by riot policemen on the night of August 11, when he was driving his friends home past the Riga shopping center. He was being beaten all the way to the detention center and after, until he lost consciousness. The man shared his detention story with "Viasna".

"They threw my skateboard away and told me I feigned a broken arm." Survivor stories

25.11.2020 "They threw my skateboard away and told me I feigned a broken arm." Survivor stories

Ivan told "Viasna" the details of what happened: during the detention, his arm was broken and no ambulance was called, even when he reported a heart condition. The doctor at Žodzina detention center said that his arm was fine because it had not swollen up. The guy received medical attendance only after the trial.

"I had to take down my pants and stand in my underwear in the middle of the hall." Survivor stories

23.11.2020 "I had to take down my pants and stand in my underwear in the middle of the hall." Survivor stories

"Nothing was going on, no chains of solidarity or protests. Suddenly they ran up to me, lowered my head, put me on a parapet, and then loaded me into a minibus. I can hardly call it detention, it was rather kidnapping.”

Overcrowded and violent: what awaits Belarusian protesters in prison

20.11.2020 Overcrowded and violent: what awaits Belarusian protesters in prison

Thousands of people have been detained in Belarus' pro-democracy protesters - and hundreds are facing charges. The prison system that will take them is largely unreformed and has its roots in the Soviet system.

"Riot policeman took another baton and said: 'I wanted to be a drummer all my life.'" Survivor stories

18.11.2020 "Riot policeman took another baton and said: 'I wanted to be a drummer all my life.'" Survivor stories

Around 9 pm on August 10, 29-year-old Minsk resident Anton [name changed – editor's note] was seeing his friend home. The couple were in a tram when five masked riot policemen ran inside.

FIDH urges Belarus to free detained women and children

18.11.2020 FIDH urges Belarus to free detained women and children

The FIDH is convinced that the principles of humanism and presumption of innocence should compel the release women and children from detention centers for the period of preliminary investigation.

"They broke my ribs and found me guilty." Survivor stories

16.11.2020 "They broke my ribs and found me guilty." Survivor stories

We were sitting with heads lowered and hands behind our heads. It seemed like I had got into some movie. The riot policemen were rudely speaking to us all the time. They said: 'So you want freedom? Do you need change? Do you lack anything? We will show you another life now!'

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