In Belarus, hundreds of criminal cases have been initiated in connection with the post-election protests, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus said on October, 22.
The prosecutors are going to demand maximum penalties for most defendants, Dzmitry Bryliou, a representative of the Office, stressed.
“Since August 9, more than 400 criminal cases have been opened in relation to mass riots; organising and preparing actions that seriously violate public order; resistance, violence or threats of using violence against police officers; destruction of property or damage; hooliganism,” the statement reads.
According to Bryliou, about 40 cases have been sent to courts; some people have already got prison terms.
In turn, more than 1,000 persons filed complaints against siloviki’s violence. On August 26, an interdepartmental commission was set up to probe into police abuse cases reported by citizens. However, there have been no public reports on the work of the commission or criminal proceedings brought against policemen over resorting to excessive force yet.
In early September, Belarusian human rights activists sent 47 complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee about victims of torture. They presented evidence that for several days, starting on August 9, law enforcement officers across the country in various law enforcement agencies deliberately inflicted severe pain, as well as physical and moral suffering on citizens.
According to Gerard Staberok, Secretary General of the World Organisation for the Prevention of Torture (OMCT), the steps the Belarusian authorities took in the wake of the 2020 presidential election can be considered as carefully planned acts by the nature of crimes against humanity.