Plainclothes people detain about 20 residents in Minsk yards

Detentions in Uruchcha. Photo: motolkohelp

On January 5, unknown men (allegedly plainclothes security officers) showed up at the neighbours’ meetings in Minsk offstreet yards and detained a number of participants.

Such incidents occurred in Novaya Baravaya, Uruchcha, Zakhad residential areas, human rights centre Viasna reports. The attackers came to the yards by ordinary vans and cars, not police vehicles. For example, they grabbed the local residents who were talking and drinking tea in the yard on Lozhynskaya Street.

In total, about 20 persons were detained on Tuesday evening. According to the volunteers, three detainees (Andrey Kinash, Dzmitry Chystou, Viktar Maroz) were taken to hospitals from Pershamayski district police department, the others were sent to the detention centre in Akrestsin Street.

The residents of Novaya Baravaya are going to file a joint complaint with the police over the facts of kidnapping.

“I just went out to the yard to have a smoke. I met my acquaintances, we stood talking in our closed yard. And suddenly we heard a girl screaming, saw her running away from two guys. They were dressed in ordinary sports suits, their faces were covered with scarves or buffs, i.e, they were not even wearing balaclavas,” Alyaksandr, who eyewitnessed one of the incidents, told Belsat TV.

When the pursuers caught the girl, Alyaksandr and his friend tried to find out what was going on and fight the girl off, but the one who knocked her down took out a gun.

“He pointed a gun at us and said he would shoot if we did not walk away. I dialed 102; my neighbour also called the police, he was very emotional about what was happening. Another man in sports clothes tried to grab the phone from me, but none of them said who they were and what they were doing,” Alyaksandr recalls.

Detentions in offstreet yard. Minsk, 5 January 2021. Photo: Nasha Niva

A few minutes later, another ten plainclothes men approached from the other side of the yard: “It was unclear what was going on. They rounded my neighbour up, threw him into the car, and drove him and the girl away. All the vehicles were civilian, without any identification marks.”

About half an hour later, Alyaksandr got a return call from the police: “I explained that unknown people threatened us with a gun. The interlocutor just laughed at me.” However, the policeman on the phone promised that a precinct officer would come and talk to Alyaksandr, but no one appeared.

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