Torture: It's Fashionable in Belarus, Too
"These claims are bizarre...our police always act within the letter of the law. They are under more supervision than ever due to the world attention on our country these days." -- an unnamed Belarus official
The EUobserver posted an article last night about the increasing use of torture methods by Belarus police to obtain confessions from political prisoners. Here’s a familiar laundry list of methods used by them, as stated by Grodno region police investigator Pavel Melko in a letter addresed to the United Nations and Belarus opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich:
"A standing practice of using torture to extract confessions and evidence exists and is developing...[This includes] electric shock, smothering...poisoning by tear gas and neuro-paralytic agents, battery, straining of tendons, piercing of gums by an awl. Some cannot bear the tortures, faint, try to commit suicide. People, tired from tortures, leap out of the windows."
Political prisoners that have been subjected to these and similar treatments include opposition leader Alexander Kazulin, who was incarcerated earlier this month for five and a half years for "hooliganism". Kazulin’s wife gave her account of the May 25, 2006 incident that took place after the fraudulent Belarus elections:
"My husband walked up to the commanding officer smiling and with flowers in hand. But before he started talking, the officer ordered attack. They knocked my husband off his feet, started beating him up, and then dragged him away...then they started beating up the rest of us."
Does this sound like hooliganism to you? I didn’t think so. As for Mr. Melko, his whereabouts cannot be confirmed. According to the report, Melko may have sent his letter after he left Belarus illegally and may be hiding in Canada.
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