Vasil Sarochyk, an elderly man who guards a parking lot in Minsk, told human rights defenders that local police officers subjected him to six hours of torture on November 14 to make him confess to crimes he had not committed.
Sarochyk speaks about the incident in a video posted on the website of a prisoners' rights organization called Platforma.
According to Sarochyk, a uniformed policeman and a plainclothesman approached him at the parking lot on Malinina Street on November 14 and announced, without introductions or explanations, that he would be taken to the Lieninski district police station.
The man was kept in the station's waiting area for about one hour and then led into a separate room for a questioning.
According to Sarochyk, officer Bahdanouskaja handcuffed him and started beating him, saying that he should confess to stealing gravestones stored at the parking lot, diesel fuel and car accumulators and to repeatedly robbing retail kiosks at the nearby Svielta market.
The woman became even more violent when Sarochyk said that he did not even know what she was talking about. She and other officers kicked him and hit him on the head with truncheons, shouting obscenities and threatening him with death. Every time the man lost his consciousness, they revived him with cold water.
Sarochyk refused to make any confessions, but, after six hours of abuse, finally signed a paper that he was too weak to read. The officers then stopped beating him and told him to go home.
However, the man went to City Clinical Hospital No. 10 to have his injuries documented. When doctors refused to examine him without a special paper from the Lieninski district police station, he filed a complaint with the Leninski District Prosecutor's Office and asked Platforma for help. Platforma notified the Prosecutor General's Office, the interior ministry and the Investigative Committee of the incident.
Siarhiej Balashou, senior aide to the city prosecutor, said that Sarochyk's complaint had been transferred to the Lieninski district office of the Investigative Committee, and that the man had been referred for a medical examination.