Okrestina Detention Centre, Akrestsina Detention Centre, officially, the Criminal Detention Centre of the Minsk Executive Committee’s Main Internal Affairs Directorate (Belarusian: Цэнтра ізаляцыі правапарушальнікаў ГУУС Мінгарвыканкама, Russian: Центр изоляции правонарушителей ГУВД Мингорисполкома), is a pre-trial detention centre in Minsk, Belarus. The prison is known as a detention centre for activists of the Belarusian opposition arrested during mass protests against the authoritarian regime of self-proclaimed president Alexander Lukashenko. On 21 June 2021, the U.S. Treasury has added Okrestina Detention Centre to its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List.[1]

Criminal Detention Centre of the Minsk Executive Committee’s Main Internal Affairs Directorate
Prison cell Akrestsina, Minsk .jpg
Okrestina Detention Center
Security classCriminal Detention Centre
Managed byMinsk City Police Department
Street address1-y zavulak Akrescina, 36
CityMinsk
Country Belarus

NameEdit

The prison is most commonly referred by its informal name Okrestina (Russian: Окрестина) or Akrestsina (Belarusian: Акрэсціна, official transliteration: Akrescina) derived from the name of the street where it is located (which is in turn named after Soviet WWII ground-attack pilot, hero of the Soviet Union Boris Okrestin [ru]).

TortureEdit

 
Protester shows bruises from tortures at Okrestina, 2020

According to numerous reports, many protesters arrested during the 2020 Belarusian protests, are tortured in Okrestina by soldiers of the OMON.[2][3][4][5]

Many were beaten and in some cases seriously injured. At least three detainees suffered injuries indicative of sexual violence in Okrestino or on the way there. The victims were hospitalized with intramuscular bleeding of the rectum, anal fissure and bleeding, and damage to the mucous membrane of the rectum.[6]

On the night of August 13–14, 2020, relatives of people detained in Okrestino recorded the sounds of incessant beatings that could be clearly heard on the street. Several voices can also be heard on the recordings, screaming in pain and begging for mercy. One released inmate reported that those who begged officers not to be beaten were beaten even more severely.[7]

On September 29, 2020, detainee Dsjanis Kusnjazou was hospitalized from Okrestino with fractures of the skull bones, third-degree open craniocerebral trauma, hematomas, rib fractures, and pulmonary contusion. He succumbed to his injuries. Security authorities claimed the injuries were due to Kusnjazou falling from his bunk bed.[8]

On 11 October 2020, a video recording went public showing prisoners being chased through the ranks of police and security forces in Okrestino and being continuously beaten.[9][10]

In October 2020, Okrestina's Detention Center head Ivan Sakalouski (Sokolovskiy) was sanctioned by the European Union,[11] the United Kingdom,[12] Canada[13] and Switzerland.[14][15] More Okrestina officials were banned from entering the European Union in June 2021[16] and the United States in August 2021.[17] The U.S. Treasury gave the following motivation for including Okrestina to its SDN list in June 2021:

Following the peaceful protests against the fraudulent August 9, 2020 presidential election, many protesters have been arrested and subsequently detained at the notorious Akrestsina Detention Center (Akrestsina) in Minsk. Protesters have described intense physical abuse, including torture and inhumane conditions during their detention at Akrestsina. It has been the site of beatings, arbitrary detentions, and other human rights abuses in the months since the fraudulent presidential election. Akrestsina is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13405 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, human rights abuses related to political repression in Belarus.[18]

In November 2021, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko confirmed in an interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation that people were beaten in Okrestino, saying: "OK, OK, I admit it, I admit it. People were beaten in the Okrestina detention centre. But there were police beaten up too and you didn't show this."[19]

Famous InmatesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Belarus Designations; Issuance of Belarus General License 3 and related Frequently Asked Questions - U.S. Department of Treasury, 06/21/2021
  2. ^ Thousands demonstrated outside the infamous Okrestina jail in Minsk demanding the release of all prisoners - intellinews.com, August 18, 2020
  3. ^ Belarus election: 'Widespread torture' inflicted on jailed protesters - BBC, 14 August 2020
  4. ^ The mutual aid corridor ‘Meduza’ visits the volunteer camp outside of the infamous Okrestina detention facility in Minsk - Meduza, August 19, 2020
  5. ^ Journalist Tatsiana Belashova: Akrestsina is a manmade hell - Belarusian Association of Journalists, 16.08.2020
  6. ^ Das verprügelte Minsk
  7. ^ "Belarus: Impunity for perpetrators of torture reinforces need for international justice". amnesty.org. 27 January 2021.
  8. ^ "В Беларуси скончался мужчина, который поступил в реанимацию из изолятора на Окрестина с тяжелыми травмами". novayagazeta.ru. 3 October 2020.
  9. ^ Welcome parade at Akrescina prison in Minsk, 11 August 2020
  10. ^ Das verprügelte Minsk
  11. ^ "EUR-Lex - 02012D0642-20210227 - EN - EUR-Lex". EUR-Lex. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  12. ^ "CONSOLIDATED LIST OF FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TARGETS IN THE UK" (PDF). Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation HM Treasury. 2021-06-25.
  13. ^ "Consolidated Canadian Autonomous Sanctions List". Global Affairs Canada. 2015-10-19. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  14. ^ Shields, Michael; Liffey, Kevin (2021-07-07). Liffey, Kevin (ed.). "Swiss widen sanctions list against Belarus". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2021-07-07. Retrieved 2021-07-10.
  15. ^ "Sanctions program: Belarus: Verordnung vom 11. Dezember 2020 über Massnahmen gegenüber Belarus (SR 946.231.116.9), Anhang 1 Origin: EU Sanctions: Art. 2 Abs. 1 (Finanzsanktionen) und Art. 3 Abs. 1 (Ein- und Durchreiseverbot)" (PDF). Staatssekretariat für Wirtschaft. 2021-07-07. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-07-07. Retrieved 2021-07-10.
  16. ^ COUNCIL IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2021/997EUR-Lex, 21.06.2021
  17. ^ "Treasury Holds the Belarusian Regime to Account on Anniversary of Fraudulent Election". United States Department of the Treasury. 9 August 2021. Archived from the original on 9 August 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Treasury and International Partners Condemn Ongoing Human Rights Abuses and Erosion of Democracy in Belarus". United States Department of the Treasury. 21 June 2021. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  19. ^ "Belarus's Lukashenko tells BBC: We may have helped migrants into EU". British Broadcasting Corporation. 19 November 2021. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  20. ^ Зміцер Дашкевіч: У ізалятары сядзеў, як у прыбіральні… [Zmitser Dashkevich: In the detention centre I felt like I was in a toilet] - Viasna, 29 March 2019
  21. ^ З турмы – на допыт у пракуратуру [From prison to interrogation at the prosecutor's office] - Charter'97, 31 January 2008
  22. ^ Лябедзька выйшаў з ізалятара пасьля 15 сутак арышту [Liabiedzka set free from the detention centre after 15 days of arrest] - Radio Svaboda, 31 March 2014
  23. ^ Някляеў пра Акрэсціна: Ляжыш і дзярэш на сабе жыўцом скуру [Niakliayeu about Akrestsina: You lay there and skin yourself alife] - Belsat, 11 May 2017
  24. ^ Палажанка выйшла з турмы на Акрэсціна [Palazhanka set free from prison on Akrestsina street] - Nasha Niva, 30 September 2011
  25. ^ Дзясяткі чалавек чакалі Севярынца пад сценамі Акрэсціна, але яго так і не вызвалілі [Tens were waiting for Sieviaryniec at the walls of Akrestsina but he was not set free] - Belarusian Christian Democracy official website, 22 July 2020
  26. ^ Палітык Мікалай Статкевіч прызнаны палітычным зняволеным [Politician Mikalai Statkevich recognized as political prisoner] - Viasna, 30 June 2020
  27. ^ Ціханоўскага і яшчэ 7 затрыманых перавезьлі на Акрэсьціна, траіх выпусьцілі [Tsikhanouski and 7 more detained were transferred to Akrestsina, three were set free] - Radio Svaboda, 30 May 2020
  28. ^ "Голад, холад, пацукі" - Франак Вячорка пра ўмовы свайго ўтрымання ў следчым ізалятары на Акрэсціна ["Hunger, cold, rats - Franak Viačorka about the conditions of his detention in the centre on Akrestsina street] - Deutsche Welle, 17 February 2008

External linksEdit