“They threatened to rape me or drive me out to the forest”

Mikola Dziadok’s story, passed on from the prison

25 November 2020, 11:19 | Asia Panasevich, Mediazona Belarus
Source: Mediazona Belarus

On 12 November, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported about the arrest of the anarchist blogger Mikola Dziadok. The press service of the ministry claimed that the detainee “actively cooperates with the investigating authorities and gives testimony.” At the same time, the recording published along with the police press release makes it clear that Dziadok was severely beaten. Now he is accused of organizing actions that grossly violate public order (Article 342 of the Criminal Code). Mediazona learned the details of the anarchist’s detention from the person who Dziadok managed to talk with while in the detention center on Akrestsina.

The source, who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons, told Mediazona that, according to Mikola Dziadok, the law enforcement officers came to his rented apartment in the town of Sosnovy at about 11:00 pm on 11 November. “They smashed the window and seven people from a special police squad and OMON men burst in”, recalls the source of the anarchist’s story.

“Right away they started to beat [him] to get a password to log into the system, then they began to choke him with a pillow. When [he] began to suffocate, he gave them the password. Then [he] was being beaten for quite some time until he provided them with his Telegram password”, the source says.

Then Dziadok was lying on the floor for a while – the law enforcement officers did not let him lift his head up, but the blogger remembered that they were walking around the apartment. Soon they brought witnesses and searched the apartment. “[He] was instructed not to say a word in front of the witnesses”, the Mediazona informant reports.

“During the search three bottles that stronly smelled of gasoline were taken out of the toolbox [they were not his and were not in the apartment initially]. But the bottles were wrapped in his kitchen towel”, Dziadok told the source.

[MIA reported that they found Molotov cocktails in Dziadok’s apartment.]

The lawyer Natallia Matskevich told the media that Mikola Dziadok was beaten during his arrest. The defence counsel requested a forensic medical examination.

“I had several clients who fled Chechnya after they were tortured and were detained in Belarus facing deportation. But I never thought I would hear such stories happening in our country”, Matskevich said without specifying the details of her client’s arrest.

After the search, the law enforcement told Dziadok that they would now record a video. They pushed him into the pantry and fired tear gas inside. “Then they took him outside and sprayed pepper gas in his face, right into his eyes. They said that if he did not speak on video, they would not let him wash his face. They brought him back inside the apartment, and until the video was shot, they wouldn’t let him wash his face”, the Mediazona source recounts.

In the recording published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs press service, Dziadok’s eyes are visibly watery.
Source: The official website of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus

“The whole time they threatened to rape him, piss on him, and said they would drive him to ‘Gestapo’ [implying a torture prison] or a forest”, the source continues.

Around 12:30 am, Dziadok was put in a minivan and taken to Minsk, to the Main Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption. The blogger told Mediazona’s source that he was put face down on the floor there and spent four hours in this position.

“They demanded that he provide the password from VeraCrypt, from his hard drive, and the names of the channel administrators, especially [anarchist channels] Pramen and ACK. When he was silent, they beat him on his back and legs with nightsticks” – says the source of Dziadok’s story.

He was threatened with rape with a nightstick, beaten on the hands, and on the heels with a taser; when he raised his head, they step on it – this went on until 5 am.

“They took the bottles that they supposedly found in the apartment, stuffed the bottle necks in his mouth, made him spit on them, and then rubbed them. They gave him some papers to sign”, said Dziadok to Mediazona informant.

After that the police officers demanded that the arrested anarchist again read on camera the text they had written – “they said that if he misreads anything, they will beat him. If he says anything bad about the Main Directorate for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption, they will take him away from the detention center and beat him again, and this time even harder.”

According to the source, Dziadok doesn’t know who tortured him – those who performed the arrest and the search did not introduce themselves and were wearing masks. They threatened that the anarchist would receive “seven to nine years”, and if he mentions anything about “them”, “he will be made a prison bitch and killed there”.

Dziadok was taken to the Akrestsina detention center on 12 November around 5 a.m.  Now Mikola Dziadok is in pre-trial detention center #1.