In total, from August to December 2020, hundreds of minors and their parents were detained and brought to administrative and criminal liability.
As of September 11, 2020, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Belarus announced the drawing up of protocols on an administrative violation to more than two hundred minors for participating in peaceful mass actions.
As of October 13, 2020, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus issued official warnings to more than 300 families for the participation of children in protests.
Prosecutors admitted that they held so called «explanatory talks» with more than 400 parents and children
Prosecutors also admitted the facts of the removal of children from families after the participation in peaceful mass actions.
Regarding minors, police officers and other law enforcement agencies actively use torture, ill-treatment, and deny minors medical assistance, including in situations where it is urgently needed. Also, in relation to minors, representatives of state bodies massively violate the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Belarus on October 31, 1990, and Decree No. 18 of 2006.
Facts that we have:
– At least one child was seriously injured after being beaten by law enforcement officers after being detained.
– One child with epilepsy has been prosecuted and is in custody despite his medical diagnosis
– Four minors were harshly detained by the security forces during protest actions
– One child was detained for alleged cybercrimes
– Two children are suspected of a serious criminal offense committed during peaceful protests
– More than two hundred children were prosecuted for participating in protest actions
– At least 300 families received an official warning for the participation of children in protests
– For the inscription on the asphalt of a twelve-year-old boy, an administrative protocol was drawn up on the parents, and their mobile phones were confiscated for examination
– In the kindergarten, the teacher locked a three-year-old child in the toilet for shouting the political slogan “Lukashenko – into the paddy wagon!”.
– A whole class of high school students was detained together with their teacher by the security forces without explanation when the children were returning from waltz lessons
– There are facts of removal of children from the family
Here are some examples of cruel treatment and torture of minors by law enforcement officials in Belarus.
August 9, Pinsk.
Sixteen-year-old Denis rode a bicycle next to a column of citixens after polling stations closed. At some point, the column was blocked by the security forces and they began to detain the participants of the march.
One of the officers chased another child, but did not catch up with him; then he went up to Denis and hit him with a shield. As a result, the child fell off the bike and broke his arm.
The officer twisted Denis’s broken limb and thus brought him to the District Department.
One of the detainees, together with Denis, a doctor by profession, tried to draw attention to the teenager’s condition. He asked to call an ambulance for the child, but the staff did not. The doctors were called only an hour after the child was detained; by this time he had lost consciousness. Denis was hospitalized for twelve days with a diagnosis of a closed displaced fracture, and a surgical operation was performed.
August 10, Minsk
Two children were detained, seventeen-year-old Yana-Christiana Galko and sixteen-year-old Gleb Gunko.
The detention was due to their T-shirts with the official Belarusian emblem “Pursuit” logo.
The officers, without introducing themselves, demanded that teenagers unlock the phones and show the contents of the backpacks without procedural registration, then detained them.
The parents were not informed about the detention of the children, although the children gave their phones to the officers; they were treated with special means, beaten with truncheons and fists, forced to run, undress, put on their knees, bullied with dogs, were not allowed to sleep or go to the toilet.
They tried to register the children in the status of “in a socially dangerous situation,” but the intervention of human rights defenders of “Our House” stopped this process.
Since the pressure on the children did not stop, threats of removing from the family and placing in an orphanage continued, on September 13 the teenagers left the country.
August 11, Gomel.
Sixteen-year-old Nikita Zolotarev, suffering from epilepsy, was detained and placed in a pre-trial detention center. He is accused of throwing a bottle with the smell of gasoline towards the Interior Ministry officers at the protest action on August 10 in Gomel.
At the moment, there are no facts confirming this version of the investigation. The Interior Ministry officials did not provide any facts (photos and videos) that Nikita really threw a Molotov cocktail. The boy’s parents claim that he showed the police officers an indecent hand sign and was detained for this.
Just after his arrest, he was interrogated for several hours without the presence of a lawyer, social teacher and parents, Nikita was severely beaten, lost consciousness and was hospitalized in the intensive care unit, where his parents were also not allowed to visit him.
On August 11, Nikita’s underage brother Vlad was also detained. Later he was released.
Nikita complained that he was “beaten every day”.
The teenager is suspected of committing a crime under Part 3 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (Hooliganism committed with the use of weapons or items that replace weapons – Ed.). As a minor, he can receive up to 7 years on it.
Despite Nikita’s diagnosis of epilepsy, the measure of restraint in the form of detention was not changed.
He is still in jail under torture.
August 11, Grodno.
Sixteen-year-old Nikita Sidorovich was detained, beaten and smeared with brilliant green (as a rule, this is how they mark those who are later planned to be subjected to more severe torture).
Then he was put between the cars so that other protesters would not see him and was beaten by riot police.
Then the child was smeared with brilliant green, put in a paddy wagon and taken to the District Department, where he was beaten again.
Nikita was brought to administrative responsibility under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code of the Republic of Belarus (Violation of the order of holding mass events – Ed. Note), his mobile phone was seized.
August 12, Minsk.
Sixteen-year-old Timur Mitskevich disappeared. He left the house and went to a friend who lives nearby, in order to go to the country house together.
On August 13, it became known that he was hospitalized in the intensive care unit from the Partizanskiy police department of Minsk.
From a medical certificate: “mild traumatic brain injury, concussion, open fracture of the zygomatic-orbital complex without right displacement (fracture of the maxillary sinus without displacement of fragments, linear fracture of the orbital bottom without displacement of fragments), hemosinusitis of the right maxillary sinus, convulsive syndrome paraorbital hematoma on the right, multiple bruises of soft tissues and extremities, traumatic erosion of the cornea of both eyes.
At the police station, they gouged out his eyes with a stick and hit him on the heels with an electric shock.
The OMON officers tried to make him sing the OMON anthem, and when he refused, they threw his head back, held him, put a stick in his mouth and beat it with their legs.
The security forces tried to get into his room almost immediately after hospitalization, but the doctors did not allow them to do so.
At the moment Timur is hiding by caring citizens, the police are looking for him.
Timur is blind in one eye and has very serious health problems.
On September 24, Timur’s mother died.
September 6, Grodno.
During a peaceful march, a sixteen-year-old student of the Grodno State Polytechnic College Kirill Keturko was detained.
During the arrest, the police officers strangled him and sprayed gas in his face.
September 7, Minsk.
During the March of Unity, a twelve-year-old boy Yaroslav was detained for writing “3%” on the asphalt.
At the police station, a report was drawn up for the boy, and his phone was taken for examination. The protocol reflected only the actions: left the house, how he got there, how he ended up at this place, further actions – he wrote with a spray paint on the road “3%”.
He was released from the department on the same day.
In addition, the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs threatened his mother that they would report the incident to the school where Yaroslav is studying to put him on a record in police.
September 17, Minsk.
At the exit from the office of the human rights center “Viasna”, an activist of the “European Belarus” Elena Lazarchik was detained.
At this time, her son, first-grader Artem, was in the after-school group # 126. Elena was released several hours later, but the teachers had already summoned the guardianship authorities to the school, which took Artyom to an orphanage in the Frunzensky district.
The next day at 12.00 people gathered near the orphanage. According to the guardianship authorities of the Frunzenskiy district of Minsk, Elena did not appear after 6 pm on her own initiative, and her phone did not answer. Later, the guardianship authorities told Elena that she must collect documents to take Artyom home, but the next day, under pressure from public opinion, the boy was returned to his mother.
Today the boy is safe and with his mother.
September 27, Gomel
During the mass action, the spouses Natalya and German Snezhkov were detained, as well as their two minor children.
On September 28, German was sentenced to 14 days of arrest under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code of the Republic of Belarus, and also brought to criminal responsibility under Part 2 of Art. 363 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (resistance to an employee of the internal affairs bodies, associated with violence or the threat of its use).
On the night of September 30, police officers came to the Snezhkovs’ house with a search, seized a laptop and a telephone. Natalia Snezhkova was sent to the temporary detention facility, and two children were sent to an orphanage.
The police are also looking for the adult children of the Snezhkovs, who live separately from them.
At the moment, the Snezhkov spouses managed to escape with their children and are now abroad.
September 27, Molodechno.
A kindergarten teacher locked three-year-old Alyosha Rogov in the toilet during the sleeping time for shouting the slogan “Lukashenko – into the paddy wagon.”
The educators tried to prove to the child’s mother that the boy had invented everything and conspired with the manager to deny the incident.
October 7, Grodno.
Police officers detained 13-year-old Nastya together with her stepfather.
They were detained in Grodno on Sovetskaya Square, where a protest action was to take place.
The officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs did not like how Nastya’s stepfather Alexander was talking with the riot police officers, six officers approached them, began to twist their arms and use special equipment (gas canisters).
Nastya was detained together with her stepfather, while the child was dragged to the paddy wagon along the ground by the hair and sprayed with gas. Her face and chest were burned. As a result, Nastya was released from the Leninsky District Department together with her mother after a preventive conversation, Alexander was later given 7 days of arrest under Art. 23.34 of the Administrative Code of the Republic of Belarus.
The next day, representatives of the guardianship authorities came to Nastya’s apartment to check the living conditions of the child. At the same time, the family was threatened with being registered as “social dangerous”.
October 19, Minsk.
Yuri Yakovishin was detained during the march and on the same day he was convicted under Art. 23.34 Administrative Code of the Republic of Belarus for 14 days of administrative arrest. The next day, his wife Elena started receiving calls from social services. The callers were interested in whether she went to work after the maternity leave , what her salary was, and whether there were fire detectors in the apartment.
The woman related these calls with the detention of her husband and considered it a way of moral pressure on the family.
October 23, Dobrush, Gomel region.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported on the arrest of a fifteen-year-old child.
He ran a Telegram channel, where he published the personal data of the Ministry of Internal Affairs employees noticed in violations of the law against Belarusian citizens, as well as personal data of their family members.
The child was not brought to criminal responsibility, since he had not reached the age of responsibility for this type of crime, however, no clear evidence of his guilt was provided by the police officers.
October 29, Minsk.
A detachment of riot police in full outfit arrived at gymnasium # 4.
At one of the breaks, the children went outside and staged a protest on the porch. After that, an OMON squad arrived at the school.
The headmaster of the gymnasium called the students to his office one at a time for a conversation, while the others chanted “Let go!” outside the office door.
This happened because the children at recess staged protests and sang songs.
A man who supported the children was detained.
On October 30, a trial took place over him, which sentenced him to 15 days of arrest under Art. 23.34 Administrative Code RB.4
October 30, Zhabinka, Brest region.
Two children, fifteen and sixteen years old, were detained.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, they threw a Molotov cocktail into a police car. No people were hurt. Taking into account the proved with the video provocations with Molotov cocktails organized directly by police officers, we propose to closely investigate whether there was a fact of the Molotov cocktail being used by children (we are not sure about that).
October 31, Minsk.
The school administration threatened the family of Mikhail Suboch with putting them on record as socially dangerous, because the children did not attend the school on September 1 and October 26 in solidarity with the protesters. So it was in the explanatory note that the parents provided to the school. Teachers pressured the family, demanding to rewrite the explanatory note, indicating in it another reason for the children not going to school.
December 13, Smolevichi, Minsk region.
Pupils of the 11th grade of the Smolevichi district gymnasium were detained together with their teacher Anna Sevyarynets. The class was returning from a ballroom dance rehearsal.
The boys were put behind bars, and the girls – on benches, ordered to face the wall.
Later it turned out that the parents of the detainees came to the District Department, where they were told that the children were using obscene language against the police.
The materials were prepared on the basis of media reports, communication between volunteers and human rights defenders of Our House with victims and their relatives, as well as information received from other human rights organizations and initiatives.