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(MINSK) LATEST: Jails and detention centres are holding hundreds of people described as political prisoners, whether they are political opponents, independent journalists or protesters #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – May.28: The arrests have continued and jail terms too. That is the situation facing captured blogger Roman Protasevich and his student girlfriend. Mr Protasevich said before he was detained he feared the death penalty, which Belarus still has, because he had seen his name on a terrorism list.

BELARUS: โ€˜Press Freedom curtailed and stories of fear and violence with some 7,000 Belarusians being rounded up and thrown into crowded prisons in a matter of days, when they took to the streets in August 2020 to denounce the presidential election as rigged with reports suggesting beatings and torture were rifeโ€™

Ambulance drives into a detention centre in Minsk, 13 August 2020
Many of those detained in Minsk last August were brought to the notorious Okrestina detention centre

One shocking official video, purportedly of a political activist who died last week, shows a man collapsing unconscious in his cell. Belarus’s biggest independent news site has been raided and its top editors put in jail.

‘No doubt he was tortured’

Many of the thousands arrested in the capital Minsk last August ended up at the notorious police detention centre at Okrestina Street.

That is also where student Sofia Sapega has been taken, according to her mother. She and Roman Protasevich were arrested after their Ryanair flight was forced to divert to Minsk airport. He is said to be in another Minsk jail, identified as preventive prison number one.

Both have made video confessions, widely assumed to have been made under duress. In Mr Protasevich’s brief video he was shown with dark marks on his forehead. 

Reuters: In Roman Protasevich’s “confession” video (L), he can been with marks on his forehead

Exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovksaya said: “He’s clearly beaten and under pressure; there is no doubt that he was tortured. He was taken hostage.” 

Belarus’s leader of 26 years, Alexander Lukashenko, told parliament that ill-wishers at home and abroad had “crossed many red lines and crossed boundaries of common sense and human morality”.Roman Protasevich’s father tells the BBC he is fearful his son may be tortured

Signed confessions

Alina, 20, described her treatment at Okrestina last August, after she was grabbed by Belarus special forces. “At the entrance stood a man who shouted: ‘Faster, you bitches!’ I said: ‘Why are you speaking to us like that?’ He grabbed my neck and kicked me against the wall,” she told BBC Russian.

Threatened with violence, she signed a statement without knowing what was in it. “Get on and sign it, or I’ll [rape] you and put you away for another 20 days,” she describes being told.

Another detainee called Sergei described being forced to crawl while being beaten repeatedly. Amnesty International said some ex-detainees had described detention centres becoming torture chambers.

“We were forced to stand in the yard all night. We could hear women being beaten,” said another man who showed the BBC his bruises. Journalist Nikita Telizhenko wrote an account of people lying on the floor, piled on top of each other.

EPAReleased detainees showed their bruising outside the Minsk detention centre last August

At the time, Alexander Lukashenko’s government denied widespread allegations of abuse.

Sentencing continues

The arrests have continued and, according to human rights group Viasna, there are 421 political prisoners ranging from bloggers to businessmen, peaceful protesters to presidential election candidates. 

Among the candidates in jail since last year are Viktor Babaryko and Sergei Tikhanovsky, whose wife Svetlana took over as candidate and later claimed victory in the vote. Babaryko’s closest aide, Maria Kolesnikova, became a protest leader and was detained in September. She faces charges including “conspiracy to seize power through unconstitutional means”.

Political dissidents are still being sentenced. Senior opposition activist Pavel Severinets was given seven years in jail this week for taking part in “mass unrest”, while six others were given jail terms of four to seven years.

Journalists have been targeted too. In February Katerina Andreyeva and Daria Chultsova of Polish-based Belsat TV were jailed for filming an unauthorised protest. This month, Belarus’s biggest independent website was raided and many of its journalists arrested. Twelve are still in jail.

Sergei Sheleg/BelTA/Handout via ReutersKaterina Borisevich of was jailed for six months for disclosing confidential medical information

Conditions in jail

Testimony of beatings and torture from freed protesters has highlighted the risk of abuse in Belarus jails. 

The death of Vitold Ashurok at a penal colony in the eastern town of Shklou last week aged 50 has raised further questions, according to human rights groups.

Belarus investigative committeeIn the video the man is given an injection before he collapses a second time

A video released by Belarus authorities shows a man, said to be Ashurok, staggering around his cell and hitting his head on a sink and collapsing. The edited footage shows him being given an injection before he collapses again.

Belarus authorities said he died suddenly after a cardiac arrest, although his widow is adamant his heart was healthy when he went into jail.

You don’t need to be a high-profile dissident to get prosecuted in the current climate. 

As street protests became increasingly risky, symbolic gestures took over, although even they can be targeted by authorities. 

One man was arrested in Minsk for allegedly supporting protesters with a red-and-white “paper banner” on his balcony – the colours of the opposition flag. A woman wearing red-and-white socks was fined 2,320 Belarus roubles (ยฃ650; $906) under the laws of unauthorised protest.


#AceNewsDesk report โ€ฆโ€ฆPublished: May.28: 2021:

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(MYANMAR) Military Coup Report: Security forces have shot and killed more than 80 people in a brutal crackdown on Saturday that protest organizers say was like โ€œgenocide.โ€ As fear spreads over the country and the militry tighten control ove the peoples lives #AceNewsDesk report


Myanmar Update: Unrest: Over 80 Protesters Killed, 19 Sentenced to Death: Reports emerged on Saturday that security forces fired rifle grenades at protesters during a brutal crackdown in the city of Bago, near Yangon: By Saturday evening, monitoring group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) confirmed โ€œover 80 anti-coup protesters were killed by security forces in Bago on Friday.โ€

โ€œThey piled up all the dead bodies, loaded them into their army truck and drove it away,โ€ AFP quoted a resident as saying that authorities had refused to let rescue workers near the bodies.

โ€œIt is like genocide,โ€ Myanmar Now news outlet quoted a protest organizer, Ye Htut as saying. โ€œThey are shooting at every shadow.โ€

Following the bloodshed, medical treatment had been โ€œdeniedโ€™ to the injured, according to the United Nations office in Myanmar.

โ€œWe call on the security forces to allow medical teams to treat the wounded,โ€ it said in a tweet on Saturday.

The latest fatalities in Bago brought the death toll to 618, according to the AAPP.

That figure, however, was disputed by the military, which put the number at 248.

Soldiers randomly shoot at protesters

Protests were also held on Saturday in the northwestern town of Tamu, near the Myanmar-India border, where people fought back when soldiers tried to tear down barricades erected to protect their community.

Soldiers started randomly shooting at protesters, killing at least two civilians, said a local.

She said that protesters were also retaliating by throwing a bomb that exploded and overturned a military truck, killing over a dozen soldiers.

โ€œSome are in hiding โ€” we are worried that our people will be hurt as a reprisalโ€ she told AFP, adding that all Tamuโ€™s residents are calling for is โ€œdown with the dictatorship.โ€

Unrest also erupted Saturday in northern Shan State, as Taโ€™ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), an ethnic rebel group, mounted a pre-dawn attack on a police station, according to local media.

At least 10 policemen were killed in the attack, it said.

The Southeast Asian country has been convulsed by mass rallies and strikes since the military ousted de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, and arrested her and several other political leaders over election fraud allegations.

Military court sentences 19 protesters to die

In the meantime, state-run media announced that a military court sentenced19 people to die for โ€œrobbery and murder.โ€

Seventeen of the defendants were tried in absentia.

An international human rights group condemned junta for the death penalties, saying, โ€œIt indicates the military are prepared to go back to a time when Myanmar was executing people.โ€

The county has not carried out an execution in over 30 years, although it has had the death penalty in its penal code, said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division for Human Rights Watch.

He said that trying cases in a military court means there can be no appeals, and there are โ€œno guarantees of a free and fair trial in any way, shape or form.โ€

The death sentences could be a tactic to force protesters off the streets and back to work, Robertson said.

โ€œTheir core mission is to use force and violence to get everybody off the streets and to break apart the (civil disobedience movement),โ€ he added.

UN urged to take action

In another development, Myanmarโ€™s ambassador to the UN Kyaw Moe Tun called on a Security Council meeting on Friday to take action.

โ€œYour collective, strong action is needed immediately,โ€ he said, proposing a no-fly zone, an arms embargo and more targeted sanctions against members of the military.

An independent analyst with the International Crisis Group, also warned the council that Myanmar was โ€œat the brink of state failure.โ€

โ€œ(The juntaโ€™s) actions may be creating a situation where the country becomes ungovernable,โ€ said Richard Horsey.

Ousted Myanmar lawmakers also urged the Council on Friday to apply both direct and indirect pressure on the junta.

โ€œOur people are ready to pay any cost to get back their rights and freedom,โ€ said Zin Mar Aung, who has been appointed acting foreign minister for a group of ousted lawmakers.

International powers have sought to slap sanctions on the Myanmarese military as its forces, but Russia warned earlier that punitive measures could spark a full-blown civil war in the country.

Source: Agencies

#AceNewsDesk report ………….Published: Apr.12: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com