Torture in  [Belarus]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Belarus]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Belarus]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Belarus]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                        

Republic of Belarus

Belarus has seen little structural reform since 1995, when President Lukashenko launched the country on the path of "market socialism." In keeping with this policy, Lukashenko reimposed administrative controls over prices and currency exchange rates and expanded the state's right to intervene in the management of private enterprises.

Belarus's economic growth is likely to slow in 2009 as it faces decreasing demand for its exports, and will find it difficult to increase external borrowing if the credit markets continue to tighten.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Belarus

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Belarus.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or download PDF at

[accessed 18 March 2015]


ARRESTS AND HARASSMENT OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS AND CRITICS - In June, a court found Andrei Bandarenka, who leads the human rights group Platform Innovation, guilty on spurious criminal hooliganism charges and sentenced him to three years’ imprisonment. Bandarenka previously headed a prison monitoring group that authorities dissolved in October 2012 for alleged tax violations. Rights groups believe that Bandarenka’s prosecution was in retaliation for his human rights work.

According to rights groups, seven people remain in detention following politically motivated prosecutions. These prisoners are regularly subjected to undue restrictions on correspondence and meetings with families, psychological pressure, and other forms of ill-treatment as punishments.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2012

[accessed 16 Jan 2014]

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - There was no independent system of monitoring places of detention. Complaints against law enforcement officers were usually rejected by prosecutors, and those who complained faced reprisals from police.

On 28 February, after being released on bail, Alyaksei Mihalevich, a presidential candidate charged with organizing a demonstration in Minsk on 19 December 2010, held a press conference. He alleged that he and other detainees had been subjected to TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - , including being strip-searched up to six times a day, and being forced to stand in stress positions.

Zmitser Dashkevich, who was sentenced to two years’ hard labour on 24 March in connection with the demonstration in December 2010, was placed in solitary confinement eight times during the year. Conditions in solitary confinement include being denied exercise, refused bedding and deprived of sleep. Prisoners are also prevented from lying or sitting on bunks during the day.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/BLR/CO/4 (2011)

[accessed 22 February 2013]

10. The Committee is deeply concerned over the numerous and consistent allegations of widespread torture and ill-treatment of detainees in the State party. According to the reliable information presented to the Committee, many persons deprived of their liberty are tortured, ill-treated and threatened by law enforcement officials, especially at the moment of apprehension and during pretrial detention. These confirm the concerns expressed by a number of international bodies, inter alia, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the Human Rights Council (resolution 17/24), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. While noting article 25 of the Constitution which prohibits torture, the Committee is concerned about the substantial gap between the legislative framework and its practical implementation (arts. 2, 4, 12 and 16).

11. The Committee continues to be deeply concerned about the persistent and prevailing pattern of failure of officials to conduct prompt, impartial and full investigations into the many allegations of torture and ill-treatment and to prosecute alleged perpetrators, the lack of independent investigation and complaint mechanisms, the intimidation of the judiciary, the low level of cooperation with international monitoring bodies, which have led to serious underreporting and impunity  (arts. 2, 11, 12, 13 and 16).

13. While noting the information on the detention monitoring activities by the Office of the Procurator-General, the national public watchdog commission of the Ministry of Justice and local watchdog commissions, the Committee is deeply concerned by the reported lack of independence of the national monitoring system and the lack of information on effective procedures and reporting practices. The Committee also regrets reports on the alleged misuse of psychiatric hospitalization for other reasons than medical ones, and the lack of inspection of psychiatric hospitals (arts. 2, 11 and 16).

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 21 January 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, police and prison guards on occasion beat detainees and prisoners.

On March 11, a police officer in Orsha seriously beat Vasiliy Sinkovsky, detained on suspicion of theft, breaking four of his ribs and piercing a lung. Criminal charges were filed against the officer for abusing his authority.

At his May 31 trial, opposition party leader Nikolay Statkevich claimed that, after his arrest, he was placed in a cell with a prisoner suffering from dysentery (see section 1.e.). He also complained that authorities did not provide him food for the first day of his detention.

Mogilev police detained youth Zubr activist Evegeniy Suvorov without charge on August 28. Suvorov complained that his hands and feet were shackled behind him and he was held overnight and bent backwards in the "swallow" stress position. Suvorov had previously been arrested for distributing independent newspapers.

There were no reports of police coercing confessions through beatings or psychological pressure during the year.

Police and plainclothes officers occasionally beat individuals while arresting them or holding them in detention for organizing or participating in public demonstrations (see section 2.b.). In October 2004 police used truncheons and other force to break up a protest following the constitutional referendum and arrested at least 150 protesters. Police severely beat United Civic Party (UCP) leader Anatolyy Lebedko and a journalist.

There were credible reports that, in March, authorities allowed imprisoned opposition activist Mikhail Marinich to remain in his prison bed for three days after suffering a stroke before providing him medical treatment (see section 1.d.).

Credible reports indicated that police and prison officials continued to mistreat and torture prisoners. Reports from the Mozyr prison in particular claimed that beatings and mistreatment were common practices. Additionally, human rights groups reported prisoners did not receive adequate food, sufficiently warm clothing in winter, and were often denied a bed. As a result, tuberculosis, pneumonia and other diseases were widespread.

On March 14, guards at the Mozyr prison severely beat prisoner Ramazan Mamedbekov, reportedly on orders from warden Yury Zborovskoy, for refusing to perform unpaid work. On March 24, prison guards used excessive force against five convicts in Mozyr, in the process of which Major Shulga reportedly broke the arm of one prisoner. In protest of this abuse, 50 convicts went on a hunger strike.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 7   Civil Liberties: 6   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 21 January 2013]

Although the country’s constitution calls for judicial independence, courts are subject to significant government influence. The right to a fair trial is often not respected in cases with political overtones. The police in Belarus use excessive force, according to UN Special Rapporteur Adrian Severin. Human rights groups continue to document instances of beatings, torture, and inadequate protection during detention in cases involving leaders of the democratic opposition.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 21 January 2013]

The increasingly repressive government of Aliaxander Lukashenka continues to clamp down on dissent in Belarus. Human rights defenders, civil society activists, and independent journalists are routinely persecuted for expressing any signs of discontent with the authorities. Hundreds of pro-democracy participants have been punished with administrative or criminal sanctions, frequently in absence of sufficient evidence of an offence having been committed. Violations of detainees’ due process rights, including access to defense counsel, are widespread.

U.S. Library of Congress - Country Study

Library of Congress Call Number DK507.23 .B45 1995

[accessed 19 July 2017]

INTERNAL SECURITY - HUMAN RIGHTS – There have been many reports of beatings of prisoners, mainly in Hrodna prison, by prison guards or with their complicity. Although such actions are against the law, it is rare for the government to punish perpetrators. Amnesty International has been denied access to the prison routinely, on grounds of security.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Belarus",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Belarus]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Belarus]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Belarus]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Belarus]  [other countries]