“It was short electric shocks, but at least they didn't hit me!”
A former detainee shared with Viasna how she was tortured in the police department and spoke about the detention conditions for those taken in custody in ‘political’ cases.
A resident of Minsk was detained in April by officers of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK). She was taken to the police department, where she was tortured with electric shocks:
“At some point I was told to turn around and face the back of the chair, to sit on it backward. They lifted my jeans, exposed my legs, and tased me. I was sitting with my back to them, so I couldn't see exactly who was doing it, but I can guess. It was painful, what else can I say? It was short electric shocks that made my legs cramp and they became numb. I would certainly not be able to stand up after that. But they didn't take me home for the search until about three hours later, so I had time to revive. The taser dots–there were six of them [on my body]–lasted about ten days. Well, at least they didn't hit me! I was told that I should be thankful for that. I realized that at least because of the marks I would go to the Akrescina (infamous detention center in Minsk – translator’s note). They can't let me out with this.”
Indeed, after that, she was taken to the police department, where she was charged with hooliganism (Article 19.1 of the Administrative Code). According to the law enforcers, the girl used foul language in the office of the police department. The woman was re-detained after she has served her first arrest.
“I was placed in the famous ‘political’ cell No. 15.
It is a two-person cell with a two-story metal bunk bed without mattresses. There were 17 of us [in the cell], and we somehow found a way to fit in about 9 square meters, but when we got the 18th girl, we realized that there was nowhere to put her physically. There was simply nowhere for the apple to fall.
In the ‘political’ cells in the pre-trial detention centers and offender isolation centers, they still do not let people sleep. The lights are never turned off and people are woken up at 2 and 4 am. This is sleep torture. The most brutal thing is that there are so many people in the cell. But they do it deliberately, they push people in on purpose.”
A woman was released on the condition that she cooperated with the police. She was given an alias and her first assignment, but she left Belarus without completing it. She is now safe.