Belarusian human rights activists send to UN 47 statements from Belarusian torture victims

The human rights center Vyasna and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee call for an investigation into the systematic torture of civilians in Belarus after 9 August.

Spartyunaya metro station, Minsk, Belarus. August 10, 2020 Photo: Alyaksandr Vasyukovich / /

Torture in Belarus

Belarusian human rights activists have 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.

Numerous testimonies of victims indicate that they were subjected to torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, including insults, beatings, torture, bodily harm (fractures, injuries, extensive bruises), used electric shock and rubber bullets, sprayed gas from cans in confined spaces with citizens in them, forced them to stand naked for hours on their knees on the asphalt, threatened with weapons, sexual violence, deprived of sleep, hygiene, food and water, refused medical care and provided the necessary medications, etc.

In addition, the detainees were held in inhumane conditions: cells for 4-6 people held up to 40 people at a time, including citizens with confirmed COVID-19 status.

Measures of psychological pressure were also widely applied to the victims: forcing them to sing the national anthem of the Republic of Belarus and shouting slogans, demands to kneel, demands to recognize the loyalty and superiority of the current government and law enforcement agencies, insults based on political views, etc.

Firearms in Brest. Photo:

Causes of torture

People were tortured primarily for expressing their political views:

  • voting for an alternative candidate for President of the Republic of Belarus,
  • wearing white bracelets symbolizing voting for an alternative candidate, as well as other symbols that do not contradict the current legislation of the Republic of Belarus,
  • participation in peaceful rallies and protests against election fraud;

    intimidating detained citizens to stop them from expressing their views.
  • Protests against the results of the presidential election have been going on in Belarus since August 9. They are often accompanied by brutal detentions, and during the first days of 9 to 12 August detainees testified to various forms of torture.

According to human rights activists, just over 7,500 people were detained in August 2020. About 500 people reported torture or extreme ill-treatment.