Ales Bialiatski sent an appeal to the Prosecutor’s Office regarding possible torture in the KGB jail

On May 24 Belarusian authorities extended pre-trial detention of several persons charged in “preparation of mass riots case”. Also increasing number of reports appeared about the possible use of torture and other cruel, inhuman treatment of persons detained as accused in the case about the preparation of mass riots and activities of illegal armed groups in the KGB and the Interior Ministry detention centers.

Andrei Dundukou was detained on March 21 and is currently held in the Interior Ministry’s prison №1 in Minsk. He will remain in custody for another four months. Uladzimir Fiodarau was detained on March 29. He is held in the KGB pre-trial prison. His detention has been extended by two months.

During the day similar information appeared regarding Siarhei Strybulski, who was arrested on March 21 and is held now in the Interior Ministry’s prison №1. His detention time has been extended by two months.

Friends of Ales Yaudakha, who was arrested on March 21 and is held in jail No. 1, published a part of his letter, where he informs, that on May 20 he was presented documents about his pre-trial detention extension until July 27.

According to the information published by the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, currently only one of 16 defendants held in custody in the case “about the preparation of mass riots”, is not accused in the second high-profile case instituted under Article 287 of the Criminal Code (Creation of an illegal armed formation). This is an activist of the Social Democratic Party Siarhei Kuntsevich.

Human rights activists are concerned about the treatment of detainees

Chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski appealed to the General Prosecutor’s office with a question about the treatment of persons involved in the mentioned cases.

“Given that the information about investigation of the criminal case has frequently been published in a number of government media, both printed and electronic, this case can be considered high-profile and having considerable public coverage.  As a representative of the Belarusian human rights community, I am very concerned about the information on the possible use of illegal methods against the accused in the case. Especially given the fact that information about torture in the KGB detention center, once provided by presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich, was confirmed in the past”, said Bialiatski.

Human rights defender reminds, that freedom from torture is absolute and not subject to limitations under any circumstances. The use of torture is prohibited by the Art. 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, as well as by the number of international documents on human rights ratified by the Republic of Belarus: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 7.) and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

I believe that this information shows that there are possible violations of the rights of persons who are accused in the criminal case and kept in the KGB and the Interior Ministry jails. Police officers, as well as representatives of other state bodies could illegally use special means and physical force against detainees. For example, one of the case suspects Miraslau Lazouski, according to the video shown on national television during the arrest, was beaten, there were traces of blood and beatings on his face. Meanwhile, the legitimacy and the necessity of being subjected to physical force by police officers must strictly comply with the requirements of the current legislation and can’t have the nature of abuse and torture.

In his appeal, the human rights defender stressed that one of the main tasks of the prosecution in this country is to ensure the rule of law and protection of rights and legal interests of citizens.

Ales Bialiatski asks the General Prosecutor:

to conduct a prosecutor’s check of information, mentioned in the media and in this appeal;

if the facts of the use of torture and other prohibited cruel, inhuman treatment will be found, to take immediate measures to restore the violated rights of citizens, and to impose responsibility to those who are responsible for such violations;

to take measures of prosecutorial response, aimed at inadmissibility of such facts in the future.

Related articles:

Belarusian journalists urge to provide information about the “case on the preparation of the riots”

Belarusian “Spring Fever” continues

Freedom Day in Belarus: mass detentions and trials

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