A top police officer launched threats against protesters against constructing a battery plant near Brest; there are cases of torture in the detention centre, activists told Belsat. The local police have refuted the reports.
The Brest police have reportedly opted for the so-called double punishment tactics: they detain people for participation in regular protests on weekends, put them in the detention cenre for some days, then courts impose fines on them.
According to Belsat TV sources, Mikalai Samasyuk, the chief of Leninski district public safety department, summoned several detained protesters into his office when they were being kept in the detention centre.
“Samasyuk promised to have revenge upon me, he threatened me saying that if I failed to quit protests, they would lock me prison or find my body in Mukhavets River. Samasyuk is the worst man in Brest. I fear for my life. If something happens to me, Mikalai Samasyuk and his minions are to be blamed,” activist Kanstantsin Astapuk told Belsat.eu.
Another resident of Brest tells a similar story.
“During my stay in the detention centre, Samasyuk summoned me for questioning. He said he would initiate a criminal case against me if I did not stop taking part in protest rallies. And he said they could push for my losing job and never finding one again,” Ales Ablyak said.
Protests against battery plant in Brest, photo Tut.by
Holding people in Brest detention centre is nothing but torture, Valery Faminski believes.
“During 24 hours in the detention centre, they did not take us for a walk, we did not spend a single minute in the open air. There was insanitariness, no water, the sewer system was down; in accordance with international standards, a lot of things may be considered as torture.”
“It is not true about the threat of a criminal case. They may say a lot,” Mikalai Samasyuk said when reached by Belsat.
The battery plant near the city is being built in the free economic zone Brest by a Chinese corporation. The project was commissioned by IPower company. It is planned that the plant will have a full cycle of production of lead-acid batteries
Residents of the city and surrounding villages believe that the production would harmfully impact their health and the environment. The project opponents say the construction has a number of violations, almost 37 thousand signatures against the plant were sent to Lukashenka’s administration in February. But the government commission did not find any violations in the implementation of the project.