The police have withdrawn Ivan Dubovik, an election observer and respresentative of the Decent People initiative, from polling station #52 of Kastrychnitski district in Minsk, human rights centre Viasna reports.
According to preliminary information, the observer was detained after he had filed complaints on behalf of the initiative while being at the polling station.
Ivan Dubovik managed to inform human rights activists that he was being taken to Kastrychnitski district police department. However the local police officers have refused to tell his family where he is being kept now.
The 2020 presidential election is officially scheduled for August, 9. On Tuesday, early voting kicked off in Belarus. On August 4-8, the polling stations are open from 10.00 to 14.00 and from 16.00 to 19.00. Notably, independent observers are being prevented from entering polling stations throughout the country, human rights watchdogs say.
This year, the Belarusian Central Election Commission (CEC) has introduced changes at some polling stations: now the booths will not be completely closed with curtains. Moreover, the citizens’ proposal to install cameras at polling stations at the expense of Belarusians does not meet the requirements of the election law, the CEC said on August, 2.
In late July, the election authorities reduced the number of observers at the stations, referring to the ‘difficult epidemiological situation in the country’. Later, CEC Chairperson Lidziya Yarmoshyna proposed observers to work at polling stations in several shifts.
The incumbent president’s opponents warn people against early casting their ballots, saying that early polling may play into the hands of the election authorities that are allegedly involved in vote rigging.