Victims testify: people were kicked in the head with combat boots in Moskovskoe district police office

15 August, 2020, Viasna

Viasna Human Rights Centre and the World Organisation Against Torture are leading a campaign to document cases of torture and of ruthless, brutal and humiliating treatment of those who took part in Minsk protests between 9 and 13 August.

Imprints of police combat boots on the head

Some of the testimonies of torture and violence survivors will be posted on our website as evidence of crimes committed by law enforcement.

I, Mishakovski Dmitry Leonidovich, born in 1982, was detained in Moskovskoe district, near Malinauka underground station on 12th August around 9:30pm. Riot police officers were chasing after someone and I stood too close. I was grabbed and thrown into either a bus or a van, I can’t remember. They immediately confiscated my phone, then broke it. They were asking for my password – on what basis? I have no clue. They took me to Moskovskoe police office. They didn’t beat me hard in the van but when we got to the office, they started battering me.

Please give us some details on what you were beaten with, and what they were saying.

They handcuffed me, I still have marks on my wrists from that. Then they knocked me down to the floor. Everyone was seated, but I was kept on the floor. They beat me with truncheons and kicked me in the head with combat boots. My teeth got chipped, they battered me, kept asking for my phone password, and took the phone away.

How many times were you hit in the head with boots?

At least three kicks. I got thrown to the ground, then they got everyone up and brought us into a basement, probably the dispatch centre. We were insulted, humiliated. Then everyone was led into cells and I got cuffed to some kind of a restraining chair which doesn’t move. 

Was this happening inside the district police office?

Yes, there was even a CCTV camera. And there they started beating me again.

Could you tell more about the way they were beating you?

There they started using bare hands rather than equipment. I was shouting “what are you doing?”. I couldn’t sleep or rest because I was cuffed. I was kept in this position for three hours, then they asked for my personal details. Then I was uncuffed from the chair and thrown into a cell, there was another guy there. I got some sleep, and around noon he was taken away. Then we were all gathered, put into a police van and brought to Akrescina.

At Akrescina we were treated softer, and waited for a trial.

Were you beaten there?

No, but they yelled constantly, a little unlike riot police or police station staff. “Face to the wall” – stuff like this. Around 300 of us were facing the wall in two lines across the hallway. If someone wanted to use the toilet, they were taken there, unlike how it was at the district office where they said: “you’ll use the toilet when you are released”. We did not get fed at Akrescina, neither at the district office.

Haematomas from battering

Were you given water?

No. If you got to go to the toilet, you could have some tap water there.

Did you remember any of the people who beat you, maybe the way they referred to each other?

No, I only got to remember one man, he didn’t wear a mask, a duty officer, because he handcuffed me, as tight as possible, and threw insults at me.