One year after presidential elections: Tens of thousands detained, thousands tortured and hundreds injured
On August 9, 2020, Belarusian citizens came to the polls to vote in the presidential elections. What followed was the worst human rights crisis in the country’s short history of independence. Here are the harrowing figures Viasna has gathered to highlight the scale of repression since the beginning of the election campaign last spring.
According to the latest report by the Investigative Committee, more than 4,690 criminal cases have been opened in Belarus to target persons involved in “manifestations related to illegal mass events, riots, protests, encroachment on state sovereignty and public safety, deliberate destruction and damage to property, violence and threats of violence against officials and members of their families.”
As of August 9, 2021, we know the names of more than 1,450 individuals involved in political criminals cases (we do not publish the names of some of them at their request).
We are aware of more than 800 court rulings in politically motivated criminal trials.
610 people have been recognized as political prisoners. The list is far from being final.
Seven Viasna activists are in prison.
Over 35,000 people have been detained since August 9, 2020.
Between July 28, 2020 and July 28, 2021, 3,906 persons were fined for participating in “unauthorized activities” or “disobedience to the police”. In total, they paid at least 2,678,555 rubles in fines.
As a result of the actions of security officers, hundreds of people were injured and wounded. At least two demonstrators were killed (Aliaksandr Taraikouski and Henadz Shutau). One more protester, Aliaksandr Vikhor, died after he was denied medical care. The deaths of several more people may be related to the protests.
Political prisoner Vitold Ashurak died in prison under uncertain circumstances.
4,644 allegations of torture by security forces were received. No criminal investigations have been opened to prosecute the perpetrators of torture. More than 1,050 victims were not allowed to demand prosecution in torture-related cases.
In a separate case, the authorities opened a formal investigation into the death of protester Raman Bandarenka.
Despite the shocking numbers, detentions of our fellow activists and the ongoing attacks on the country’s civil society, Viasna will continue to help Belarusians defend their rights.