The Belarusian human rights centre Vesna published a detailed analytical review on repressions in Belarus in 2020. It described the 2020 repressions as unprecedented for the entire history of Belarus and testifying to the profound human rights crisis in the country. BelarusFeed publishes the highlights of the report, the full version can be found on the centre’s website.
- As a result of the actions of the security forces, hundreds of people were injured, with at least two demonstrators being killed (Aliaksandr Taraikouski and Henadz Shutau) and one detained protester dead as a result of untimely medical care (Aliaksandr Vikhor);
- Thousands of detained protesters in Minsk and other cities were victims of targeted torture and other inhuman and degrading treatment. As of year-end, Viasna has documented more than 1,000 testimonies of torture victims;
- Impunity and anonymity of law enforcement officers led to new cases of torture and ill-treatment of detained protesters, as well as the death of protester Raman Bandarenka, allegedly perpetrated by officers of the Interior Ministry;
- From the start of the election campaign in May to the end of the year, more than 33,000 individuals were detained, most of whom were later sentenced by courts to terms of administrative detention and heavy fines;
- In the post-election period, criminal cases were instituted against more than 900 citizens. The Human Rights Center knows the names of more than 650 people involved in criminal cases. 169 defendants were recognized as political prisoners, while the number is growing;
- According to the BAJ, 9 journalists are currently in prison as suspects or accused in criminal cases, 477 journalists were arrested, and 97 served terms of administrative detention;
- 18 members of the human rights centre Vesna were subjected to various forms of repression during the year, including arrests and terms of administrative detention. Two of them continue to be held in pre-trial detention on criminal charges.
According to Vesna, the 2020 repressions are unprecedented for the entire history of Belarus and testify to the profound human rights crisis in the country, which has led to the international isolation of Belarus and repeated sanctions by the EU, the U.S. and the UK.
“The authorities’ only response of to the demands of political transformation in the country by the majority of the Belarusian society is the intensification of repressions and imitation of a national dialogue on the so-called ‘constitutional reform’. This policy only exacerbates the crisis and creates the preconditions for its further aggravation in the months to come,” the report concludes.
Featured image: Photographers against