Interior Ministry comments on brutal student detentions

Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs does not admit to beating students who were detained on October 27. Earlier the incident was reported by human rights activists.

According to the Interior Ministry, on October 27 a group of students took part in an unauthorized mass event.

“Some of them were standing near the road: they were on the lookout for police vehicles. During suppression of illegal actions four young men resisted and tried to escape. One of the students, running away from the police, fell and broke his nose,” the Interior Ministry said.

Protocols were filed for the students, then they were handed over to their parents and university management, the Interior Ministry said. Protocols were filed according to article 23.4 of the Code of Administrative Offences (Disobedience to a legal order or demand of an official in the performance of his official duties) and 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offences (Violation of the order of organization or holding of mass events).

“No claims or complaints about the actions of policemen have been received,” the police claim.

Earlier the human rights center Viasna reported about the detention of five 17-year-old students of a Minsk university during a solidarity action in the courtyard of the Belarusian State University between the law faculty and the chemistry department. Four of them were severely beaten by law enforcement officers in a police bus and were later diagnosed in the hospital with concussion, and craniocerebral injuries, fractured nose and other injuries.

In particular, one of the students told the human rights resource the following:

“When I was running, they hit my legs and I fell. I was immediately grabbed and carried away into a minibus. They hit me twice in the face because I tried to lift my head. I was thrown into the bus, my classmate was already there. The policemen who sounded like they were 20 years old were also there and kept hitting me on the head. Then we were put into another minibus. There were already other guys with whom we were near the BSU. They told us that they were also beaten hard. We all rode on top of each other. There were two people lying on me, though there were free seats.

The blood of classmates on the female student’s jacket after they lay on it in the police buses. Source –

They ripped my backpack off me. Now it is completely torn. They tried to find something there, but only found water. Then the policemen began to have fun and pour water on us.

We were also beaten and humiliated in this bus. They broke our classmate’s nose. The guy who was wearing an orange cap was beaten most of all. Probably, because it is bright and catches the eye. We heard a lot of humiliations and threats like “let’s pepper spray them”. They beat us with their fists, humiliated us with abuses, intimidated us, and said they would kill us.

When I was released from the police station, I went to the hospital where I was diagnosed with a concussion. I don’t have bad injuries as they mostly hit me on the head. Only a lump. I still do not understand why we were detained.”

The Ministry of Internal Affairs later also published a video in which detained students are forced to confess that they observed the movement of minibuses with policemen to inform other students and thus help friends to avoid detention. However, the police do not explain what law they have broken in this way.