Belarus's interior ministry said on Friday it released more than 2,000 protesters arrested after last Sunday's presidential election. The election, which led to the expected re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, sparked large-scale demonstrations across the country, with at least 6,700 people arrested.

  • Read more: Belarusian Yevgeny describes the situation in his country as horrible - fears for his loved ones: "Our government knows nothing about humanity"

According to Reuters, the release of the protesters was carefully justified by the overcrowding of the detention centers. In addition, possible sanctions planned by the EU have led to promises by Belarus to release detainees, the BBC reported.

The Belarusian opposition has also received support elsewhere. A woman who took part in a support demonstration in Warsaw, Poland, on Wednesday carried a modified image of President Lukashenko.

Photo: Cezary Kowalski / Zuma / MVPhotos

At the same time, however, information has begun to seep into the public about the harsh treatment of protesters in detention centers.

The international human rights organization Amnesty says it has gathered statements with local organizations from protesters released after their arrest. The information gathered by the organizations has also been reported by several media around the world.

Amnesty: The videos confirm the stories of out-horror cries

According to statements, protesters have been stripped naked, beaten, tortured and threatened with rape in detention centers.

People gathered outside the detention center in Minsk have said that the sounds of tortured horror and assault can be heard all the way out, and those living next door to the center say there have been noises around the clock.

Riot police approached two women sitting on the sidewalk during a demonstration in Minsk on Monday.


According to Amnesty, videos and audio tapes recorded on site confirm the stories.

  • The video below has one of the audio recordings spread on social media that the detainees ’cry is alleged to be heard. Warning! Video sounds may upset more sensitive.

"The bloody views of the streets of Belarus are just the tip of the iceberg"

According to Amnesty, the evidence points to systematic torture of detainees as well as other forms of ill-treatment.

- For days, the world has watched in horror as Belarusian police shoot rubber bullets and tear gas at peacefully behaving protesters. It is becoming increasingly clear that the bloody views of the streets of Belarus are just the tip of the iceberg, said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

The man was arrested on Tuesday in Minsk.

Photo: Celestino Arce / Zuma / MVPhotos

Detainees have described the detention centers as “torture chambers” where police kick and beat people lying on the ground with batons. At the same time, detainees are said to have been forced to listen to the horrors of others detained.

- The only “crime” of these people has been walking down the street in the signs of peaceful protest. What we are seeing now in Belarus is a human rights catastrophe that requires immediate action, Struthers said.

In its statement, the organization called on the heads of state to increase pressure on the Belarussian regime to stop widespread human rights abuses.

“You’re gay, and now you’re going to be sent to jail”

One of the detainees interviewed by the organizations is Katsiaryna Novikava, who says she was arrested while walking to a supermarket in the center of Minsk on Monday, August 10, following the election.

Novikava says he spent 34 hours in the detention center and saw the entire yard of the facility full of forced men lying down. Inmates, including Novikava himself, were forced to undress and visit the ground in their containers.

The women released from the detention center in Minsk on Friday walked out with a smile on their lips.


Detainees who were naked in their containers were then beaten with a cotton swab. Novikava was placed in a four-person cell with 20 other women and was not provided with any water or food during the arrest.

According to Novikava, several of Selli's women had been threatened with rape. When Novikava was released, police said it was clear they had his information.

In addition, the woman was threatened with death if she ended up in the detention center again.

The man showed a sign of victory when he was released from the detention center in Minsk on Friday.


Nikita Telizhenko, a reporter for the Russian online magazine, says he spent 16 hours in the detention center.

- On the police bus, people continued to be beaten - due to tattoos or long hair. “You’re gay, and now you’re going to be sent to prison,” police shouted at them, Telizhenko says in an article he wrote.

The whereabouts of the part are unknown

Telizhenko’s account of the detention center was very similar to that of Novikava and other interviewees. According to Struthers, these are not isolated cases, as similar reports have been heard around the country.

The BBC also says it has interviewed numerous people who have said they were beaten during the arrests. There have also been teenagers among them.

“We want free elections,” read the sign of a protester wrapped in a Belarusian flag at a support demonstration in Warsaw on Thursday.

Photo: Aleksander Kalka / Zuma / MVPhotos

The current whereabouts of hundreds of detainees are unknown, adding to fears of “forced disappearances” for at least some. The relatives of the detainees, as well as their lawyers, have tried in vain to find out.

On Wednesday, riot police forcibly dispersed a group of about 200 detained relatives who had gathered in front of the detention center to obtain information about their missing loved ones.