Minsk prosecutors refuse to report on probe into torture cases in Akrestsin prison

The prosecutor’s office of Minsk is holding back information about their work regarding torture cases in the detention centre in Akrestsin Street in Minsk, the Legal Initiative press service reports.

Belarusian human rights activists sent the corresponding request to the prosecutor’s office in late September.

The data you are interested in are classified. The requirements set out in the appeal cannot be met,” the response signed by Minsk Deputy Prosecutor Kazimir Kezhun reads.

In accordance with the law on the prosecutor’s office, a prosecutor must act publicly and openly. Therefore, if there is a relevant public request, proper information must be provided. The attempt to hide the information speaks of only one thing: the prosecutor’s office has done nothing,” Viktoryia Fyodarava, head of the Legal Initiative, believes.

On August 26, an interdepartmental commission was set up to probe into police abuse cases reported by citizens. More than 1,000 persons filed complaints against siloviki’s violence. However, there have been no public reports on the work of the commission yet.

In early September, Belarusian human rights activists sent 47 complaints to the UN Human Rights Committee about victims of torture. They presented evidence that for several days, starting on August 9, law enforcement officers across the country in various law enforcement agencies deliberately inflicted severe pain, as well as physical and moral suffering on citizens.

Then, UN human rights experts called on Belarus to stop torturing detainees and bring to justice police officers who reportedly have been humiliating and beating protesters in their custody with impunity; they said they got information on 450 documented cases of torture and ill-treatment of people.

According to Gerard Staberok, Secretary General of the World Organisation for the Prevention of Torture (OMCT), the steps the Belarusian authorities took in the wake of the 2020 presidential election can be considered as carefully planned acts by the nature of crimes against humanity.

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