EURASIA LIFT

Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Belarus: Survey Shows Massive Abuses of Protesters

Posted by Info on 11/02/2011

HRW report: Belarusian authorities arbitrarily detained, mistreated, and summarily sentenced hundreds of people arrested in the aftermath of the December 19, 2010 demonstration protesting the election outcome.
At least 639 people, according to official statistics, were arrested, and human rights activists believe that the actual number could be significantly higher. Hundreds served up to 15 days in administrative detention.

“In many cases, security forces beat and humiliated people detained after the protest and held them for hours in the cold with no access to food, water, or a toilet, and the courts then sentenced them in hasty trials with no resemblance of due process,”
said Anna Sevortian, Russia director at Human Rights Watch.

Security forces also did not allow many of the detainees to inform their relatives of their whereabouts, and in some cases beat those who tried to use mobile phones to call their families. In some cases, the families did not have information about the fate and whereabouts of their detained relatives for several days.

Most of the trials were held behind closed doors, without defense counsel,
and lasted no longer than 10 to 15 minutes. Most of the sentences contained identical language, accusing the defendants of participating in illegal demonstrations and chanting anti-governmental slogans. In many cases defense witnesses were not questioned, and when they were, their testimony was not taken into consideration by the judge. With almost no acquittals, the courts sentenced the defendants to 10 to 15 days of administrative detention.

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