Mahiliou blogger who endured brutal detention seeks asylum in Lithuania

Andrey Bodzileu. Photo:

On December 16, unknown individuals wearing masks stopped a taxi which was carrying Mahiliou-based activist and blogger Andrey Bodzileu to his work.

“Yelling ‘Get out, b*tch!’, they pulled me out of the car, then hit in the head, handcuffed, dragged me into a bus, where battering continued. One of them started pressing on my eyes and shouting that he would gouge them out, because I supported ‘white-red-white’. My nose was bleeding, but the only thing that mattered to them was how to avoid dirtying their clothes with blood,” Andrey said.

He was taken to the local department for combatting organised crime and corruption. The man was not allowed to call his defence lawyer. The blogger was questioned as a witness in a criminal case opened over the alleged subversive act on the railway. The officers also asked him about his activity on the web; they deleted Free Belarus, a Telegram chat and channel created and administered by Andrey Bodzileu.

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In the office, Andrey was forced to tell a story in front of the camera. Later, the video was aired on state-run TV station CTV.

“They said they would stop interrogating if they filmed me urging people not to take illegal actions. I said it in such a way so that my words could be directed at the police officers in the first turn,” the blogger explained.

After the questioning, Andrey was driven home; his place was searched. His equipment was confiscated. As nothing was found against the blogger either on Telegram or at his place, they released him, but ordered to keep the incident to himself and not to tell anyone about his being beaten. However, Andrey immediately showed up at a first-aid station, where he said that he had been attacked by unknown masked men.

After that, the blogger came to the authorities’ attention again. On December 17, the police made two visits to his flat and one – to his workplace.

“I thought that they would not get off my back. I opted for leaving Belarus without delay. I have got first-hand knowledge that now there is no rule of law at all. I think it is dangerous for me to stay in my homeland,” the activist added.

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