I Was Being Lucky. Ales’ story: ‘They thought I was the protest coordinator’

In 2020, Belarus became a country with thousands of detained, beaten, tortured people. In its project ‘I Was Being Lucky’, Belsat TV tells the stories of 21 Belarusians who suffered police brutality.

Many people have already heard the story of the well-known Hrodna musician Ales Dzyanisau. He did not take part in the protest, he was just returning home. On one of the streets he noticed people in black without identification who were pulling a woman. He stopped and only managed to ask: “For what?”, as he was immediately detained. While the musician was being pulled to the base of the local riot police (OMON), he was beaten and his bicycle was broken.

Now Ales jokes: “The bike had it worse than me.”

Аles Dzyanisau. Photo: Belsat

At the OMON base the guy was also beaten, but, as he says, he was still lucky, because unlike others he was not forced to pass through the yard. However, Ales received a severe groin kick, and later had to go to the hospital because of that. Law enforcement officers also painted the guy’s face with a felt-tip pen. After the OMON base Ales got to the police department. There he was threatened with a criminal case and called a ‘protest coordinator’.

But then a plainclothes security officer even apologised and said he was wrong. Before the trial the musician was taken to a temporary detention center. No toilet paper, no food, tap water.

There were 12 people in the quadruple cell of the remand prison. The detainees took turns sleeping, and Ales spent all the time on the floor. In the picture Ales is the only person smiling.

Drawing by Ales Dzyanisau. Photo: Belsat

After leaving the remand prison the guy started to have pains, but he didn’t pay much attention to it at work, he just applied painkillers. After some time, he had a fever, and a familiar doctor said: you need to go to the hospital. As a result, he spent five days with antibiotics and a drip and another week of treatment at home.

Get acquainted with our interviewees and read their stories here.