Lawyer Andrei Machalau said that after detention on March 18 his client Volha Zalatar was tortured by officers of the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption.
Andrei Machalau told Belsat that after detention officers of the Main Office for Combating Organized Crime used torture to force Volha Zalatar to testify against herself. They used force to get the passwords to her phone and tablet and her fingerprints to unlock the phone.
“At first they beat her on the head with their hands, then started strangling her, threw her on the ground and started pressing her head with a boot to the floor. I personally saw bruises on her arms and neck and bruises on her buttocks,” the lawyer said.
But the most offensive thing is that Volha has repeatedly told the investigator about this and wrote a petition. But it’s been two weeks, and she still has not been sent to her forensic expert to document the injuries. The investigator also did not describe the injuries.
“It’s been two weeks and, of course, the bruises are gone. What is the medical examiner going to document now?”
In my opinion, this is how they are trying to hide the traces of this crime that was committed against Volha,” Machalau said.
For the moment, the torture of Volha has stopped, as now there is only work with the investigator. But, according to him, the officers of the GUBOPIK may come back to her again.
The lawyer said that now they are going to send a complaint to the prosecutor’s office, to senior investigators, and prosecutors. One complaint has already been filed with the prosecutor’s office.
On April 2, human rights activists declared Volha Zalatar a political prisoner.
Volha Zalatar is a 38-year-old mother of five. She was detained on March 18 when she was taking her daughter to a music school. The law enforcers stopped her car and took her home to conduct a search. After the search Volha was first taken to the local police station, then she was placed in temporary detention, and the next day she was taken to detention center #1 in Minsk.
Volha Zalatar was charged under Part 1 Article 361 of the Criminal Code: “Establishment of an extremist formation. But according to the note, “a person is exempt from criminal liability if they, by timely notification to the state authorities, contributed to the detection, prevention or suppression of acts classified by law as extremist activity”.
The mother of many children testified and answered all the questions of the investigator. Volha did not admit her guilt. She believes that she was charged with an absurd crime.
“No evidence of her guilt was presented at all,” the lawyer says.
Volha’s husband, who was also detained on the same day, March 18, was recently released after 10 days of arrest. He considers all these accusations absurd and hopes that it will all come to an end soon. Their five minor children are with him now.