Teenage girl from Hrodna detained for taking part in rally she did not attend

Dzina Kavalevich. Photo-Vasil Mauchanau / Belsat

On September 1, student protests took place in Hrodna. During the rally near the railway station, 10 young people were detained. Among them was Dzina Kavalevich, a 16-year-old student of one of the Hrodna colleges. The girl claims that she did not take part in the picket, and the reason for the arrest was a white-red-white bracelet on her arm.

Belsat.eu spoke with Dzina about the circumstances of her detention.

“I was sitting on a bench next to two girls I didn’t know. Riot police officers got off the bus in the parking lot. Three of them came up to us. The uniformed woman took me by the hand and offered to get on the bus. I refused, since they did not say why they were detaining me. A second woman came to the aid of the first one and grabbed me by the other arm. I was scared, pushed with my feet against the floor, did not allow myself to be pulled, but a riot policeman grabbed me by the legs. The three of them dragged me into the bus, where they lowered me to the floor and offered to take an empty seat. They took my phone away, examined my backpack. At the moment when I was about to sit down after the examination, one of the police officers roughly nudged me with his elbow. I didn’t fall off my feet, but I hit my foot on the seat, leaving a bruise there. There were also injuries during the detention, which were confirmed by the Hrodna Children’s Hospital: damage to the ligaments of the right shoulder joint and contusion of the soft tissues of the right intermediate-pidolonneal joint,” says Dzina Kavalevich.

Health certificate. Photo-Vasil Mauchanau/Belsat

The girl was not allowed to call her relatives for about an hour. She did not understand where she was being taken. After a while, Dzina began to panic.

“I heard that the police discussed taking me and other detainees to Minsk. I was really scared. I was confused: no one knew where I was, what happened to me. In the police station they laughed at us and joked: “So? Were you beaten? Raped? Be sure to write about it on the Internet!” I held on to the last, but in the end I burst into tears”.

Student march. September 1, 2020. Photo: Denis Dziuba / Belsat.eu / Vot-tak.tv

The law enforcement officials were not stopped by the fact that the girl was underage.

“They immediately asked me my age, which I confirmed with a passport, but this information did not cause any particular reaction. Perhaps they wrote to the management, since they had telephones, they even took pictures of me. However, this did not affect my fate in any way”.

Dzina’s mother, Katsyaryna Kavalevich, is outraged not only by the cruelty and unfounded detention, but also by the behavior of the police after the arrest.

“When I look at the footage of the detention, I find this savagery outrageous! They did not introduce themselves, did not explain why they were detained. I was informed of my daughter’s whereabouts only an hour after the incident, and from my daughter’s phone. She was psychologically pressured and forced to unlock her phone. Also, my daughter was forced to sign the protocol without legal representatives. They scared her: we’ll send you to an orphanage, a colony, and so on. It’s just some kind of horror!” said Katsyaryna Kavalevich.

In Hrodna, as in other cities of the country, protests against the rigging of the results of the last presidential elections have been going on since August 9.

Photo by Vasil Mauchanau