New Amnesty Report: The crackdown on peaceful protesters in Belarus emerges

Amnesty International calls on the international community to enhance its efforts to establish mechanisms for further investigations on the ongoing brutality shown to ordinary Belarusians claiming their freedom.

A report publiced by Amnesty International on the 27th of January reveals the ongoing and emerging crackdown on peaceful protesters in Belarus.

The leader of democratic Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, has previously testified about the growing violence and abuse of both protesters and political prisoners. More than 900 criminal cases against protesters have been launched since August 2020. More than 150 political prisoners are being held in custody in Belarus as of January 2021.

Reports indicate how the violent reprecussions of protesters take place in the streets and in several detention centers and prisons controlled by Belarusian security service. Protesters have been tortured, harassed, stripped naked and been left for hours without food or water. In the past days, the attorney of political prisoner and freelance journalist Ihar Losik – who led a hunger strike for 42 days in December and January – has stated that the political prisoners lack proper medical care.

The Akrestina detention camp, in which Ihar Losik has spent most of his time since his arbitrary arrest in June 2020, is widely known for the torture and beating of prisoners. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in December 2020, more than 27.000 Belarusians have been held there after arbitrary arrests.

Meanwhile, no criminal investigations against members of the security service, police officers or authority officials have been launched by the judiciary in Belarus. The murder of civilian protester Raman Bandarenka, who was allegedly kidnapped and beaten to death by the security service controlled by president Aleksandr Lukashenka, has not been subject to any criminal investigation or arrest of the perpetrators.

Belarus is bound to international conventions prohibiting torture and arbitrary arrests of civilians. The office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has launched an effort of collecting evidence of the violent crackdowns and harassments of civilians in Belarus. That effort is proceeding.