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U.S. citizen beaten in Belarusian prison

2008 2008-04-30T16:08:41+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

On 25 April the United States consul Caroline Savage visited the arrested in Minsk American lawyer Emanuel Zeltser. According to the consul, Zeltser said her he had been beaten on the second and third days of his detention.

Caroline Savage said it in the interview to BelaPAN. According to the consul, Zeltser lost a considerable amount of weight and was very weak, had difficulty walking and talking.

The U.S. consul sent a report to Washington based on her visit. The Belarusian Charge d'Affaires in the U.S. was summoned to the Department of State.

Yesterday the U.S. Department of State called on the Belarusian authorities to release Emanuel Zeltser “on humanitarian grounds.” The statement was given to the Belarusian Charge d'Affaires yet on 25 April.

The U.S. embassy in Minsk explained that the statement of the foreign affairs agency was caused by Zeltser’s state of health. Zeltser’s health has “noticeably deteriorated” since he is kept in custody by the Belarusian authorities.

The U.S. embassy also pays attention that almost a month has passed since they were permitted after repeated requests to visit the detained U.S. citizen, whose health condition is recorded officially. The first visit took place on 27 March.

On 28 April, Zeltser’s brother Mark sent a statement to Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Prosecutor General of Belarus Ryhor Vasilevich calling to save life of Emanuel Zeltser. He also pointed that, according to him, “Boris Berezovsky wants to prevent Emanuel Zeltser’s release and, as I already informed you before, plans the murder of Emanuel or his death “by natural causes” and blame Belarus for this,”

Emanuel Zeltser and his secretary Vladlena Funk were detained upon their arrival in Minsk on 12 March. They are charged with using fake documents. According to the lawyer of the detained, the investigation is in process, and the case has the state secret status.