Belarus citizen seeks to initiate criminal prosecution against Hrodna OMON in Czechia

Hrodna OMON commander Viktar Krautsevich detains protester. Source: TUT.BY video

A Belarusian citizen who asked journalists not to reveal his true identity has filed a complaint about his being tortured with the Central Directorate for Combating Organised Crime in the Czech Republic. Viktar Krautsevich, the commander of Hrodna OMON riot police, and his subordinates are involved in the case, Radio Svaboda reports with reference to the victim’s lawyer.

In Czechia, there are now about 50 Belarusians undergoing rehabilitation in the wake of facing police brutality amid the post-election protests in the country. Some of them are going to lodge about ten complaints under universal jurisdiction against Belarus police’s using violence, which may result in initiating criminal proceedings.

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“At the request of a client who was severely hurt by the Belarusian security forces, our law firm filed a report about a number of serious crimes against humanity to the Central Directorate for Combating Organised Crime of the Czech Republic. In the document, the victim gets into details about inhuman torture and ill-treatment on the part of the iot police in Hrodna in August 2020 (he knew that to his own cost). He also gives the names of individuals [allegedly involved in torturing detainees – Belsat]. These facts are confirmed by the testimony of witnesses and other evidence.

The facts described in the report by our client is indicative of the actions which are not supposed to happen in any civilized society. The Czech Criminal Code allows for prosecuting on the principle of universality of this type of crime in the Czech Republic, regardless of the country in which they were committed. We expect that the investigative agencies of the Czech Republic will take on the case, ”Alexei Krenke, a lawyer of the Belarusian refugee, told RFE/RL.

Submitting the report was timed to coincide with February 7, the Day of Solidarity with Belarus, the holding of which had been initiated by Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s team.

“The report that has been filed in the Czech Republic today is also a sign of solidarity with those who cannot speak out yet, or who have been silenced,” a representative of the local Humanitarian Council stressed.

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