(Berlin, September 15, 2020) – Belarusian security forces arbitrarily detained thousands of people and systematically subjected hundreds to torture and other ill- treatment in the days following the August 9, 2020 presidential election, Human Rights Watch said today.
The victims described beatings, prolonged stress positions, electric shocks, and in at least one case, rape, and said they saw other detainees suffer the same or worse abuse. They had serious injuries, including broken bones, cracked teeth, skin wounds, electrical burns, and mild traumatic brain injuries. Some had kidney damage. Six of the people interviewed were hospitalized, for one to five days. Police held detainees in custody for several days, often incommunicado, in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions.
On August 9, Alexander Lukashenko was controversially declared to have won the election for President of Belarus for a sixth term.
Mass protests immediately erupted across the country in response to allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
This video contains violent and disturbing images. Viewer discretion advised.
Riot police violently detained not only protesters but also people they randomly grabbed off the street,.
This recording was taken by a protester who was grabbed by the police.
Subtitles: You f**king animal!
Hands behind your f**king head!
Subtitles: You don’t need to beat anyone here.
No one is resisting.
Nearly 7,000 people were detained nationwide in just over four days of mostly peaceful protests.
Those detained gave accounts of threats, severe beatings and horrific torture by security forces in detention.
Subtitles: What are your injuries?
Fractured radius bone in my arm, concussion, tooth knocked out, torn ligaments, a knee joint and kneecap injury.
One month after the elections, police have started to detain large numbers of protesters again
International action is needed to document abuses and insist that perpetrators are held accountable in Belarus, so victims can obtain justice.