“Feels like we are in the Middle Ages”

This night people near the Akrescina jail have recorded screams and moans from the beatings

13 August 2020 21:02 | Katerina Borisevich / Ekaterina Panteleyeva, TUT.BY
Relatives of the detained near the Akrescina jain on the 12th of August.
Source: Vadim Zamirovskiy, TUT.BY

Today, at 5.57 AM the editorial office of “Nasha Niva” (a private newspaper) has received an audio recording made by a volunteer near the detention center. One can hear people being beaten and screamed at. The newspaper is confident that the recording is genuine.

The official Telegram channel of “Nasha Niva” has published a recording. The moans and screams on it confirm the words of people who leave the jail on Akrescina beaten, their bodies covered in bruises and suffusions. 

The recording lasts for 2 minutes 23 seconds, the impressionable people shouldn’t listen to it, but need to do so anyway. This would help them understand what happens behind the closed doors of the detention center. The men scream in pain, these screams are followed by hits. They are obviously beaten so hard that a volunteer could record the sounds while standing outside.

People who torment the detained are also screaming, and their words aren’t always intelligible. 

“Halt, f..!!! Turn left! Run!” – someone on the recording shouts.

The audio file can be found in the original article

We spoke with two men who were detained from the 10th till 12th of August. They confirmed that the people were actually beaten in jail at night. Mikhail told us:

I am a grown man, but I screamed. I think they beat people at night so there won’t be any witnesses. The OMON (riot police) were the brutal ones, the jailers were more or less civil. Men in black forced us into the courtyard, made us kneel, which is their favourite form of entertainment, and hit our backs and legs with batons, then told us to do squats.

Mikhail’s story is similar to what happens on the recording: OMON shouts at men who run outside at night, scream in pain there, and are corralled back into the cell.

Today the journalists of TUT.BY worked near the detention center at Akrescina. A woman approached us and some other journalists in the afternoon. She said her name is Natalia, and she is a patient of the dermatology clinic on the Prilukskaya street, near the jail. According to Natalia, starting from the 10th of August, there is an inhuman screaming coming from the detention center:

In the evening, when they chase off the parents of the detained, starting from about 1 AM it feels like the Middle Ages there. We can’t endure listening to the screams of people – men – there, let alone sleep. It is a nightmare.

The screams, our source continued, last for about 2-3 hours. Everything goes quiet before dawn. 

“This endless screaming, people are just shrieking as if they aren’t even human”, – Natalia could barely hold her tears back, – “[…] I am a woman, but even the men can’t sleep, it is impossible to bear. […] I have only seen things like these in the movies about Afghanistan. How can this be prevented?”

TUT.BY forwarded the recording to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Minsk City Department of Internal Affairs and asked for comment.

“Yesterday, in the evening and night, the officers (both the city police and OMON) were delivering the detained persons to Akrescina 36. Some of the delivered persons participated in the unsanctioned protests, some were the organizers of riots. The physical force could have been used only against those persons who disobeyed the orders of the policemen”, – commented Natalia Ganusevich, the official representative of the Minsk City Department of Internal Affairs.