Belarus authorities set up database of participants in 'unauthorised rallies'

Protests in Minsk. 12 December 2020.

The Belarusian Interior Ministry has launched a unified system of keeping records of participants in unauthorised mass events.

“In fact, this filing system is a database of unauthorised rallies,” state-run TV station Belarus 1 commented on its introduction on December, 20.

On the back of ‘the events of August 9’, the ministry decided to establish a special unified database which would include information about the citizens identified or detained during unauthorised mass events so that Belarusian law enforcers could widely use the data collected in their work, Minsk-based senior police officer Alyaksandr Kupchenya said on the air.

“A man lives in the city of Brest, where he participates in unauthorised mass events. A month later, he arrives in the city of Minsk to show up at such events. We detain him here, run him through the database, and find out that the person was previously detained in Brest over taking part in such events. The fact of the repeated participation is essential when an adminitrative offence is considered in court,” he gave an example, justifying the need for creating the system.

According to Kupchenya, the operations centre in Minsk works 24 hours a day; all public places, main squares, popular protest spots are under video surveillance. Notably, the unified database contains information about gender, age, region, places of work and study, even hobbies of protesters, users of local chats, admins of Telegram channels.

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For over four months, the protests have been underway in the country; the major demands of Belarusians are Lukashenka’s resignation; holding a free and fair election; releasing political prisoners; putting an end to police violence as well as bringing to justice those involved in battering and torturing peaceful demonstrators.

Since August 9, more than 30,000 people have been detained across the country. Many of them were beaten, some were raped. There are at least seven death cases that are linked to the post-election protests. Hundreds of persons, including Belsat TV journalists Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova, are parties to criminal proceedings, the number of political prisoners exceeded 150. Several thousand detainees filed complaints against police officers’ illegal actions to the Investigative Committee. However, not a single criminal case has been opened over the citizens’ appeals.

It is an open secret that messages from outside give enourmous support and encouragement to a prisoner; that is why we urge our readers to send letters to the jailed journalist:

Кацярына Андрэева (Бахвалава): 222160 Беларусь, г. Жодзіна, вул. Савецкая, д. 22а / Katsyaryna Andreyeva (Bakhvalava): Savetskaya Street 22a, Zhodzina, 222160 Belarus

Дарʼя Чульцова: 222160 Беларусь, г. Жодзіна, вул. Савецкая, д. 22а / Darya Chultsova: Savetskaya Street 22a, Zhodzina, 222160 Belarus

Кацярына Барысевіч: Беларусь, 220030 г. Менск, вул. Валадарскага, д. 2. СІЗА № 1 / Katsyaryna Barysevich: Detention facility Nr 1, Valadarski Street 2, Minsk, 220030 Belarus

Don’t forget to enclose an empty envelope so that the girls could respond to your letter. Thank you for your unindifference!