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Viasna insists on criminal charges against security officers amid vast torture evidence

2020 2020-08-17T13:18:24+0300 2020-08-17T13:18:24+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
An injured protester in Minsk. Photo: social media

An injured protester in Minsk. Photo: social media

Human rights activists of “Viasna” appealed to the Prosecutor General’s Office demanding immediate initiation of a criminal case against law enforcement officers who abused their authority in dispersing peaceful demonstrators.

From August 9 to 13, in Minsk and other cities of Belarus, officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Defense were involved in mass arbitrary detentions of citizens, followed by torture and acts of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

Information about acts of ill-treatment has been published on the websites,, and others.

We, members of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", demand to immediately open a criminal case to investigate these incidents under Art. 128, 426, and 455 of the Criminal Code and to prosecute the perpetrators.

According to Article 128 of the Criminal Code, “Crimes against the security of humanity”, a crime is the illegal detention, abduction of people, followed by torture or acts of cruelty committed in connection with the political beliefs of civilians.

Torture means any act which intentionally causes a person severe pain, physical or mental suffering in order to compel that person or a third party to act contrary to their will, including to obtain information or confessions from them, and to punish or for other purposes or on any ground based on discrimination of any kind, if such pain or suffering is caused by a public official acting in an official capacity, using their official powers, or at their instigation, or with their knowledge or tacit consent. This definition does not include pain or suffering arising from the application of measures of procedural or other lawful coercion.

Given the lack of legal grounds for the use of physical force and riot gear, including non-lethal weapons, in the premises and on the territory of internal affairs departments, as well as in places of administrative detention and arrest, the actions of police officers cannot be justified by law and order.

Ales Bialiatski, chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna"

Valiantsin Stefanovich, member of the Board of the Human Rights Center "Viasna"

Pavel Sapelka, lawyer of the Human Rights Center "Viasna"

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