On August 10, 2020, in Minsk, near the Bobruisk public garden, two teenagers were detained: Y, 16 years old and G, 17 years old. The law enforcement officers, most likely the police, did not introduce themselves, used physical force against the detainees, did not explain their rights, upon arrival at the police station they kept the teenagers in the basement, tortured, beat them and morally humiliated them.

Chronology of events:

August 10, at about 21:00: detention in the Minsk city, near the Bobruisk park. The teenagers were drinking water on a bench, planning to go to buy tickets to go home (they live in the suburbs). The teenagers were wearing T-shirts with “The Pahonia” (the historical coat of arms).  It was also the official emblem of the Belarusian Democratic Republic in 1918 and of the Republic of Belarus from 1991 to 1995. On May 14, 2007 the Pahonia was declared cultural heritage of Belarus.

Two people came out of the bushes, did not introduce themselves and immediately asked to unlock the phone (to see the correspondence for the preparation for the mass event, apparently). G. unblocked his phone because he did not want to go into conflict. Then two men asked teenagers to open their backpacks, although all the above and below listed actions are impossible without procedural registration (introduce themselves, explain the rights and reasons for personal search). G. opened the backpack, and at that moment the security forces suddenly put handcuffs on him. After that, Y was also handcuffed. Without removing the handcuffs, the guys were put to wait for something right in the park, and then they were transferred to the police van that came in time. When Y. was being examined, G. asked to unclench the handcuffs. Not immediately, but after a while the handcuffs were removed.

Everything happened in full view of other people, in fact, right on the square (the square overlooks the street), cars drove around. Nearby was the ascent to the Chkalovsky overpass and the exit to the de facto main square of the country – Independence Square.

In the process of being “transported” to the paddy wagon, a riot policeman approached the guys, pressed G. with his elbow against the wall of the paddy wagon, and accompanying his speech with obscenities, in fact, promised physical impact on the teenagers.

Inside the paddy wagon, the space is divided into a common part and the so-called “glasses”. Apparently G. was identified as more dangerous (as we found out from the actions on other detainees in those days, the riot police, according to some of their preferences, chose those whom they considered to be the leaders of the protests) and put them in such a “glass” measuring one meter by one meter, and Y. was put in to the common part. They loaded eighteen detainees and took them in an unknown direction. Only in the morning did the teenagers learn that they had been taken to the Center for Isolation of Offenders in Akrestsin Street.

August 10, evening: In general, the teenagers initially counted on the standard “treatment” of the detainees after mass events. They expected that they would be brought to the police station, and then the standard procedure would go through: they would make sure that they were minors, call their parents and hand them over, or even simply let them go. But this time the parents were not called, although the guys told the security officials the phone numbers of the parents.

This time everything was different: when leaving the paddy wagon, the detainees were led through the line of with the dogs. The dogs barked, and the police officers, shouting strongly, beat the passers-by with sticks, not discerning – adults or children. For example, a boy of thirteen who was detained just near the entrance of his house, where he was sitting on a bench, fell under this procedure.

After the “treatment” with sticks and dogs, the newly brought people were brought to the wall, where there were already many previous detainees. G., for example, did not even find a place to stand. For this, the riot policeman grabbed the guy by the collar, and then hit him under the knees with a truncheon so that the guy knelt down and thus put him against the wall.

Later everyone was taken to the basement.

While the guys were being led into the basement, unknown persons in masks beat them on the backs with truncheons. There were several cellars – in series. Together with some other detainees, Y. And G. were taken to the first basement, where they were forced to remove their laces, chains, rings – everything that was there. Only then an unidentified employee asked if there were minors. Y. And G. said that they were under 18. Then they were transferred from the TDC building (temporary detention center) to the CIO building (the center for isolation of offenders). These are neighboring buildings of the same department of the Internal Affairs Directorate on Akrestsin Street.

During the transition, they were asked for their names and surnames, date of birth, place of residence. Then they were again put against the wall, now near the fence. The policeman began to ask Y. about something, he answered something (he does not remember what, because he was under stress). The policeman regarded this as a rude answer, called another policeman and said: “Work with this!” And then Y. and G. were separated.

  1. was taken to the fourth floor of the building, where he and everyone who was with him was again put to stand simply against the wall, “in a straight position, facing the wall.” There was also another teenager who was very ill because he was sprayed with gas during his arrest. He could not stand, so he lay. An employee came up and asked why the others were not like him: they did not lie and did not kneel. He ordered to kneel, and in this position on their knees they stood all night.

In addition, the teenagers were taken to a room where they were forced to sign some protocols, for not signing, they threatened to be transferred back to the basement.

The teenagers asked to read the protocols, which provoked indignation and indignation of the police. G. signed the protocol quickly, and Y. was reading it for a long time, but then also signed it. The protocol included article 23.34 – participation in an unauthorized mass event, although, of course, this was not true, since the guys were detained in a park, not far from the exits to suburban trains. The protocol included some groups, which was also invented by the police on the go, because the teenagers were not in any groups.

August 10, night: The detained teenagers were periodically kicked to prevent them from sleeping. The windows in the hallway were wide open throughout the night. Because of this, screams, screams, groans, barking dogs were heard from the yard.

Nobody paid attention to requests to go to the toilet. During the night, they literally allowed to go to the toilet once, and even than not everyone.

August 11, morning: the parents of the teenagers were finally informed about the detention.

August 11, 8:00 am: they were let go home.

August 12, morning: the teenagers went to the local clinic to film the beatings. They found bruises in G.’s two knee joints, because when he was put against the wall, he was severely hit on his knees. Before that there was a fracture of the knee joint, then he could not damage it so much in any other place. Now the guy is very difficult to bend it.

He also had a bruise of the chest, a bruise of the spine, and numerous hematomas. Y. – the same, only without bruises of the knees.

August 12: Parents wrote a statement on the initiation of a criminal case. Since Y. and G. are minors, the police came to them to take explanations about the beatings that had been recorded.

August 19: The guys went to the police station on Akrestsin Street to pick up the things confiscated during the arrest. There was a volunteer camp where the teenagers took their things. Ya. And G. wrote a statement to initiate a criminal case in connection with the injuries received.

However, these statements received an answer that the consideration of the case was postponed for a month. But instead of considering the case and looking for those responsible for the beating of adolescents, a commission on juvenile affairs was appointed, the result of which could be, for example, registration with the SDS (Social dangerous situation, means in the family), removal of the adolescent from the family and placing them in a special boarding school or orphanage «under protection» (despite great age).

September 5: Due to fears of future withdrawal from the family and ending up in an orphanage, the teenagers turned to the organization “Our House” for help.

September 6: And just at that time a summons came from the Commission on Juvenile Affairs.

September 9: Y. And G. were contacted by a lawyer at the request of the «Our House» organization. The lawyer was able to postpone the process of considering the case in the commission for juvenile affairs, and also added new materials: video from CCTV cameras in the park where the arrest took place. This petition was granted. While the commission was considering new materials (until the next meeting), the teenagers left for Poland, because they feared, not without reason, that further prosecutions, including criminal ones, were possible in Belarus.

September 13: The teenagers left the country. They are safe now.

In the meantime, we have information that the police are looking for the guys with unclear goals, and that their relatives are worried.

As we know, not a single complaint about bodily harm has been considered, no criminal cases have been initiated against policemen.

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