Belsat TV cameraman has been on trial in Tsentralny district court in Minsk.
As reported earlier, Andrus Kozel was severely beaten by police while observing the election process at one of Minsk polling stations. The policemen broke the glass in the door to the polling station with Andrus’ head when they were detaining him, his colleague saw him bleeding.
According to the police, as Andrus Kozel ‘ignored their demands, offered resistance to a police officer, grabbed the officer by his uniform’, they decided to use force against him. Notably, the journalist said he had been punched in the head four times. The report also notes that he ‘damaged a glass door with his foot’.
At the same time, Kozel claims he was punched in the head four times at the polling station. After the arrest, he was taken to Tsentralny district police department.
“They hit me on the head, ribs and kidneys. Now I have a headache, they refused to provide no medical assistance and ignored all my requests. I was bleeding. In the police department I started to write a complaint to the prosecutor. And they placed me in another room, took all my belongings away. Then plainclothes officials started to arrive,” Kozel told Belsat.
A police major did not let him to read the protocol drawn and stated that the detainee refused to sign it, the journalist said.
One of the police officers who arrested Kozel came to the hearing as a witness. He refused to introduce himself, but his name – Uladzislau Bushynski – was made public in court. His superior tried to prevent Andrus’ wife from filming the video above.
According to Uladzislau Bushynski, he was on duty at polling station Nr 27 in Minsk when the chairman of the election commission asked him to withdraw Andrus Kozel.
“We were taking him out, but he began to actively resist, he bumped up against the door, which resulted in damaging the glass, then fell to the floor and injured himself. At first, we did not put arm on him, we just held him tight. But he hit at us, and I called an assault team,” he said.
(UPD) Judge Ivan Kastsyan decided to send the case back to the police. Andrus Kozel has been released in court.
The cameraman is set to file a complaint with the prosecutor’s office against the policemen who detained him as well as the law enforcement officer who did not give a copy of the protocol to him.
18,110 deputies were elected to the local councils of Belarus on February, 18. Early voting kicked off in Belarus on February, 13. There might have been many rigged votes and violations from Tuesday till Saturday, independent observers warn.