“They kicked me in the head with their police boots.” Survivor stories
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) launched a campaign to document cases of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of protesters on August 9-13. Some testimonies of people who survived torture and violence will be published on our website as evidence of crimes committed by security forces.
I, Dzmitry Mishakouski, born in 1982, was detained in the Maskoŭski district of Minsk, near the Malinaŭka metro station at about 5 pm on August 12. The riot police were chasing someone. I turned up by chance, they put me in a bus or in a police van, I don't remember which. They took my phone away at once, broke it, asked for the password, I do not understand on what grounds. Then they took me to the Maskoŭski police department. They didn't beat me much in the police van, but started beating in the police department.
Tell us in more detail what you were beaten with? What did they tell you as they beat you?
I was handcuffed. There are still bruises on my wrists. Then they threw me on the floor. There were people sitting around, and I was knocked to the floor, beaten with truncheons and boots on my head. My teeth were broken.
How many times did they beat in the head with their boots?
Three times, at least. Then they took everyone to the basement, insulted and humiliated us. Then everyone was taken to their cells, and I was handcuffed to a chair, a kind of sedative one, the one that does not move.
Was it in the police department?
Yes, there was a video camera there. And again they started beating me there.
Tell us more about how you were beaten
They used their fists, not police gear. I shouted, “What you are doing?” I could neither sleep nor rest as I was handcuffed to that chair. They held me like that for three hours, then started asking questions. Then they unbuckled me from the chair and threw me into a cell, where I could finally sleep. Then we were all picked, put in a police van and all taken to Akrescin Street.
In Akrescin Street (detention center), we were treated more loyally, while we were waiting four our court hearings.
Did they beat you there?
No, but shouted constantly, a little differently than riot police or regular police officers. “Face the wall” – things like that. How many of us were there? Some 300 people were standing near the wall in two rows along the corridor. Those who wanted to go to the toilet were taken out, not like it was in the police department, where they said you could only take a pee after you’re free. In Akrescin Street (detention center), there was no food. And there was no food back at the police department either.
Did they give you any water?
No, when we were allowed to go to the toilet, then we could drink there from the tap.
Do you remember those people in the police department who beat you, maybe you heard what they called each other, riot police, personnel?
No, I remembered only one, he was without a mask, an officer on duty, because he handcuffed me. He was swearing all sorts of bad words at me.
More stories of people who survived police violence and torture:
23-year-old Yury Panamarou was detained in the evening of August 11 on his way to a street food market in central Minsk. He told Viasna about the cruelty of his unjustified detention and the conditions under which he was kept for two days in the detention center in Akrescin Street.
On August 11, Dzianis Selivankin was approached by two police officers at the intersection of Pieramožcaŭ Avenue and Mieĺnikajte Street. They asked for his ID. Dzianis replied that he had no passport with him. Then the young man was forced to unlock his smartphone. What they saw in Dzianis’s Telegram enraged them.
Vasil Hushcha (48) was detained in the evening of August 9 near the Maskva cinema next to Niamiha street. He was freed in the morning of August 14. Vasil told “Viasna” about the tortures in the detention center on the Akrescin Street, his transfer to a prison in Žodzina (60 km from Minsk) and the conditions there.
Hleb was detained on August 11 near the shopping center “Skala”. He says that the riot policemen detained him when he simply walked down the street with headphones on his head. He spend the next three days in the police station of Maskouski district, then in the detention center on Akrescin Street and finally in a correctional facility in Sluck.