Belarus: “You are not human beings”: State-sponsored impunity and unprecedented police violence against peaceful protesters

Belarus: “You are not human beings”: State-sponsored impunity and unprecedented police violence against peaceful protesters

Since the disputed 9 August 2020 presidential election in Belarus scores of consistently shocking images have emerged from the country: peaceful protesters brutally assaulted by riot police, stun grenades fired into peaceful crowds at short range, and the blood-stained faces and severely bruised bodies of men and women released from detention. These have been accompanied by scores of harrowing accounts of torture, sexual violence, and other ill-treatment of detainees arrested for peaceful protest. The number of people arrested since 9 August 2020 and who have spent time in detention in connection with the post-election protests exceeds 27,000 and continues to grow. Many hundreds have testified of torture and other ill-treatment, and several protesters have died. If brutal reprisals against peaceful protesters and against all forms of dissent in Belarus do not stop – and at the time of writing the government’s violent crackdown on human rights shows no signs of abating – these numbers will only continue to mount.

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