Two Teenagers Hospitalised After Post-Election Police Beatings In Belarus

16-year-old Timur gets a panic attack when hears the word “police” as he is now treated in the ICU of the 3rd children’s hospital in Minsk. He, as well as 14-year-old Nikita, was beaten during an arrest, then beaten again in a paddy wagon and a police department.

Both articles first appeared on TUT.BY last Saturday, on 15 August. In the interests of the children, their names were changed.

Timur’s story

Timur was taken taken to hospital from the police department on 13 August, a day before he was detained near Kamennaya Gorka metro station. TUT.BY journalists managed to talk to Timur yesterday. When he hears the word “police”, he has a panic attack.

belarus police beat teenagers post election protests

The boy was in a medical coma, he had a brain injury, concussion, open fracture of the zygomatic-orbital complex, convulsive syndrome, periorbital hematoma on the right side, multiple bruises of soft tissues and limbs, traumatic erosion of the cornea of both eyes.

They tried to gouge his eyes out with a baton,” teenager’s mother Tatyana says.

On 12 August, Timur was supposed to go fishing with a friend, he went to him but then simply vanished. On 13 August, his mother got a call from school and was told that the boy was in hospital. He was taken there from the Partizanskiy district internal affairs office by ambulance.

The 16-year-old is currently in intensive care, he was in a medical coma. The boy was beaten during the arrest, then in the paddy wagon, then they made several stops and beat him again. He was admitted to hospital on 13 August.

Timur says they tasered him saying: “You will now sing the anthem of OMON [riot police]”. And when he refused, they put his head back, held him, and hammered a baton in his mouth. The boy says that he got off easy, as he saw them pushing a baton into another man’s rectum and beating a 14-year-old boy in the groin.

Timur, who is already conscious, said that after torturing him they wanted to throw him into the basement, but some man came in and said that it would be on their conscience. After that, he resuscitated him and called an ambulance.

“Doctors say that his condition is improving, they brought him out of a coma, yesterday he talked to me for about half an hour, joked and laughed,” his brother Artem says. “Last night the police tried to get to him, they also called home, they said they want to initiate criminal proceedings, as I understand, against the riot police.”

Timur comes from a big family with nine children. He goes to school and likes fishing. The family plans to appeal to the prosecutor’s office and the Investigative Committee to conduct an investigation and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Nikita’s story

As Nikita told his family, during seven hours of his detention, he was beaten three times – first by “people in a green uniform”, then in a paddy wagon and at a police department. Like other detainees, the teenager was forced to shout, “I love OMON. Glory to OMON”.

“We were lying on the ground of a police station yard for eight hours, there were about 100 of us. It was impossible to sleep, they were constantly walking around us, if you spread your legs in a wrong way, they beat you in the groin with military boots. They hit you so hard, so that you don’t put your legs together again.

They checked our personal belongings, and when they found a hammer in a backpack of a 14 year-old teen, they were beating him for an hour. It was a horrible night. They were beating everyone,” another detainee described the details of that night at the Central district internal affairs office.

In the evening of 11 August, the schoolboy was walking home after a solidarity action near Pushkinskaya metro station where he was detained. When security forces threw him into a paddy wagon, they asked his name, date of birth and address, so they were aware that Nikita was a minor.

The boy says he was beaten during the arrest, then in the paddy wagon and in the Central district internal affairs office. There, policemen found a hammer in his backpack and got even more furious. They also found a burger, medical masks, bandages, napkins and water.

belarus police beat teenagers post election protests

When his relatives asked the teen why he had taken the hammer with him, he said that he had wanted to defend his country. He then recalled that the worst and most painful was to kneel for hours – he has deep wounds on his knees, elbows, marks on his forehead and chin.

The detainees were forced on their knees with hands behind their backs or their heads, with their faces on the ground. Nikita has marks of beating on his buttocks, back, legs and hands. “In the paddy wagon, they asked him: ‘For whom, [censored], will you vote?’. But he is only 14 years old!” his sister Natalya exclaimes.

When Nikita’s mother came to pick him up from the police department, they asked her to sign a report, but didn’t give her a copy of it. She only remembers that there was a statement that her son had taken part in an anti-government rally, and a hammer was found with him.

Now the boy’s family want to hold those who beat him accountabale. They already appealed to the Investigative Committee for a forensic medical examination, but were redirected to а local police department.

In the police department, they were told to call back after 19 August since all their police officers are very busy at the moment. “We photographed all the injuries and went to the traumatologist to register everything. We want to bring those criminals to justice,” Natalya said.

Translated by Ivan Zayats