Kobiets, a Belarusian dissident and a staff member of Sannikov’s presidential campaign, gave public testimony on Charter 97 website, recounting his stay in a KGB prison, where he was forced to agree to collaborate with the KGB.
The dissident was arrested after the December 19th demonstration held by the opposition, and spend more than a month in KGB detention. After mass arrests of Belarusian dissidents, he decided to move abroad.
“What happened in the KGB arrest, was unimaginable for me as a former state official. I took very seriously all the threats toward my family, my friends and myself. Those threats continued even after I was released, to force me to collaborate” – wrote Kobiets in the article published on charter97.org.
The interrogation methods reminded those used by the NKVD in the 1930s, wrote Kobiets. – “Masked man abused us, they were armed with batons and paralyzers. They searched us, forced to undress, kneel, crouch, they beat us, made us run on steep stairs when we were handcuffed, offended and humiliated, and than beat again.” – described Kobiets.
The former prisoner talked also about mental tortures: “They would inform me about collecting information on my wife, relatives, friends,. I thought I was in a hopeless situation. This lawlessness was suffocating, there was no one I could address.” – he wrote.
Kobiets was released on parole after signing an agreement to collaborate with the KGB. – “All I could think about was to get out of the KGB arrest. One of the officers told me what to write. I was obliged to keep it secret that I signed the deal.”
The dissident also revealed that he was forced to seek professional psychological help to deal with the trauma and nightmares, the results of the prison stay.
Kobiets testimony confirms Ales Mikhalevich’ story. Mikhalevich spent few months in KGB prison. He was released only after signing an agreement to collaborate with the secret services. Just before escaping Belarus, Mikhalevich held a press conference, where he talked about mistreatment and abuse experienced in detention. Afterward he left to Czech Republic, where he received political asylum. KGB officials rejected Mikhalevich’ statement.