I Was Being Lucky. Dzyanis’ story: ‘Detainees severely beaten, forced to chant ‘I Love OMON’’

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.

Dzyanis. Photo: Belsat

The video of Dzyanis‘ detention flew around all social networks before he was released. The man and other bikers were going to drink coffee in Uruchcha residential area in Minsk, but the place where they wanted to go was closed. Then the company decided to go to another coffee shop. They drove literally a few metres when a traffic police car appeared in front of them. People in the uniform of the traffic police jumped out, took the keys and shouted for everyone to get off the motorcycles. One traffic policeman took out a service weapon. Dzyanis was sure to the last that they would check the documents and release them, but nobody was interested in the documents.

Motorcyclists sat on the curb, they were beaten. Then they were handcuffed him and taken to Pershamayski police department of Minsk in traffic police cars. There they were taken to the gym, forced to kneel and rest their foreheads on the floor. The police shouted, “How much do you get paid?” Dzyanis’ statement that he had not been to any rally was answered: “You got to the wrong place at the wrong time.” He spent almost a day in the police station.

When people were distributed in cells and yards in the isolation ward on Akrestsin Street, Dzyanis was beaten several times: this way the officers urged the detainees to hurry. He got into the yard with more than a hundred other men. Behind the wall were the sounds of beatings and shouts: “I love OMON!” One and a half hundred people from his yard were given two loaves of bread for a day. Dzyanis spent all this time on his feet.

In court Dzyanis was accused of taking part in a rally elsewhere. According to he authorities, he chanted ‘Long live Belarus, Whiskered cockroach’. Dzyanis’ arguments that he was detained elsewhere, about which there is even a video on the Internet, were answered as standard: “There is no reason not to trust police officers.” Judgment: 6 days of arrest.

Drawing by Dzyanis. Photo: Belsat

Later Dzyanis and other detainees were taken to the yard because they were planning to transport him. The man had never waited for a police carrier as badly as that day. He dreamed of lying down on the bunk and resting

But the transfer did not take place, and at night Dzyanis and others were released from the isolation ward on Akrestsin Street. However, he feared to go out as he did not know what was waiting there, ‘maybe some more carriers where we will be put in and taken somewhere else’.

Get acquainted with our interviewees and read their stories here.