Beatings and torture in Belarus will be investigated by the Lithuanian prosecutor’s office, journalists are kept in prison, Belarus closes the land border for exit for its citizens
9 December 2020 | BYHelp-Mediagroup
Lithuanian prosecutor’s office will investigate a case of beating in the Minsk police
The Lithuanian Prosecutor General’s Office has started a pre-trial investigation of the case of violence against a citizen of Belarus by the security forces on the basis of universal jurisdiction. A corresponding application was submitted with the participation of the office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
It is the case of Maksim Kharoshyn, who was beaten during his detention in a police department, after which he was hospitalized with numerous injuries, and then, out of fear for himself and his loved ones, was forced to leave Belarus.
It is reported that the facts provided by the victim and other primary data available to the prosecutor’s office in this case allow for the application of universal jurisdiction – then the location where the crime took place, as well as the citizenship of the victims and the suspects, does not matter.
Tsikhanouskaya’s head office plans to initiate similar investigations of other applications from the citizens of Belarus who, as they claim, had suffered from violence from the Belarusian security forces, in the countries where were forced to flee to.
In response, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Belarus burst into out with critics of its Lithuanian colleagues. The statement of the Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office is intended to convince the public that the Lithuanians are beginning to unreasonably meddle in the internal affairs of Belarus.
However, this is precisely the essence of universal jurisdiction. Since the Nuremberg Tribunal and its verdict in 1946, some crimes have been considered to be of such serious nature that they shock the conscience of all mankind and undermine the peace and security of all states. That is why they give each state the right to prosecute those who commit these types of crimes, regardless of their citizenship and the geographical location of the crime.
The principle of universal jurisdiction is also fixed in the Belarusian Criminal Code. We remind that the published OSCE report speaks of the systematic and large-scale use of cruel treatment and torture against a large number of Belarusians.
Belarusians will not be able to leave their country: the authorities close land borders
Belarus introduces a temporary ban on leaving the country through land border checkpoints. Flights from Belarus will be allowed.
The official reason according to the authorities is the spread of COVID-19. However, this step is seen as politically motivated, because Lukashenko has always called measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 a “psychosis”.
In March, when the first wave of COVID-19 began, Lukashenko said: “Many countries have closed their territories for foreigners. This is what our five neighboring countries did. This is totally absurd and unworldly. And this has already been confirmed.”
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya reacted to this step and provided her comment:
“From 21 December Belarusians will be banned from leaving their country by land transport. For 26 years, Lukashenko has brought Belarus back to the days of Stalinism with its massive demonstrative repressions, terror, and now, even with the Iron Curtain. The regime is doing everything to turn our country into a modern GULAG – a huge prison where fear and violence reign. He is afraid of publicity and justice and hopes that closed borders will help hide all of his crimes. But I know for sure: the will of the Belarusian people cannot be hidden or hidden behind the closed border.”
Journalists are kept in prison, beaten with impunity, and websites are closed
A court in one of the districts of Minsk considered the complaint from the lawyer of Katsiaryna Barysevich – it contained arguments why there are no grounds to keep the journalist in custody. The journalist Katsiaryna Barysevich and the doctor Artsiom Sarokin are accused of giving away a medical secret when they said that Raman Bandarenka, beaten to death because of white and red ribbons, was sober. The authorities have chosen the strictest measure of restraint for the journalist and the doctor despite the fact that they have underage children. Katsiaryna is raising her daughter alone. However, judge Tatsiana Akavitaya ruled to dismiss the complaint.
At the same time, the Investigative Committee refused to open a criminal case against the police officers who broke a journalist’s nose. Anton Trafimovich, a journalist of Radio Svaboda, was injured on 15 July. He was detained after a live broadcast near the building of the Central Election Commission. Seven riot policemen jumped out of the minibus, handcuffed the journalist and put him on his knees, put a fist in his mouth so that he would not shout, and broke his nose. Doctors fixed the fracture and stitched it. Almost five months later, the Investigative Committee decided that there were no elements of a crime.
Belarusian authorities have blocked two websites: the media KYKY.org and the website of the Unified Crime Registration Book. The reason for the blocking is still unknown. Previously, the website mediazona.by became unavailable.
Belarusians have a new trend in protests – red and white flags are drawn on the icy surface of water bodies
Images of white-red-white flags appeared on several water bodies of Minsk. Utility services go to the sites immediately to destroy the images by any means.
In general, this is combined with the war that the authorities waged against unofficial symbols: there is no red color in the sets of colored paper for children’s creativity sets, the police control the color scheme of the garlands in the apartment windows, and six stores of a large retail chain were closed due to the lack of a red-green flag.
The first Prime Minister of the independent Belarus Vyacheslav Kebich dies aged 84
From 1990 to 1994, Kebich was the first Prime Minister of Belarus.
In the first presidential election, he was the main opponent of Alexander Lukashenko, going through with him into the second round. In 1994, Kebich created the Belarusian Trade and Financial Union, which he headed in recent years. From 1996 to 2004 he was a Member of the House of Representatives.
“My best memory is how, thank God, I stopped being the head of state,” said Vyacheslav Frantsevich in 2014. “Being a leader is hard labor. It means that you do not have free time, hobbies, and you work every day from morning until late at night.” Vyacheslav Kebich was 84 years old.
For more information on the events of 9 December 2020, please visit Infocenter Free Belarus 2020: