Defiant former investigator beaten in jail

2022 2022-04-26T20:16:00+0300 2022-04-27T09:34:44+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Political prisoner Mikita Starazhenka, a former investigator who resigned after the 2020 elections in protest, was detained on February 1, 2022, in Minsk. He has been kept in pre-trial detention center No. 1 for the third month now on charges of inciting hatred for allegedly leaking GUBOPiK employees’ data to a “protest Telegram channel”.  On April 26, it became known that Mikita’s detention was extended until June 1, 2022. His cellmate, who was kept with Mikita in the punishment cell, told Viasna that the former investigator had been taken there severely beaten.

The first time Mikita was detained was in April 2021. He was arrested for 15 days for “unauthorized picketing”. After serving the administrative term he was released.

The second time Starazhenka was detained in a criminal case. Shortly after his detention, a “repentant” video of him appeared on the GUBOPiK's Telegram channel. In the video political prisoner looked very frightened, and his face showed bruises.

Screenshot from the video posted by GUBOPiK
Mikita Starazhenka's “repentant” video screenshot

As Starazhenka's cellmate told Viasna, on February 1, a severely beaten 28-year-old former investigator, was brought to the punishment cell for those detained for “political” reasons.

“He was blue all the way from his tailbone to his heels. His legs were not even blue, but dark purple. There were scratches on his face and head, marks from the handcuffs [around his wrists]. Mikita said they had kicked him and beat him with truncheons, had wrapped a rag around his head, had put a trash can over his head, and had beat him on the trash can so there would be no marks left. But he still had a cut on his nose and a big scrape near the ear. Apparently he got hit on the nose quite hard, because it was red. He also had swollen lips, a bruise on his chin.

The GUBOPiK did that. Overall, they like beating up IT people and those who 'leak' information the most.”

According to Starazhenka’s cellmate, under Article 130 of the Criminal Code, Mikita was held in the temporary detention center for only three days, after which he was transferred to pre-trial detention center No. 1. However, he was not accepted there for the first time because of severe beatings. Police officers took Starazhenka to the hospital. The second time he was finally taken to pre-trial detention center, where he remains to this day awaiting trial.

On April 26, it became known that Mikita’s detention was extended until June 2022, 2022. Starazhenka's first lawyer was deprived of his license.