Lukashenko: the dictator in the dock

There are new evidence of systematic torture in KGB prisons, when on the eve of the British law firm announced that it is preparing to initiate a private judicial investigation against President Alexander Lukashenko, says today's "The Independent".

Investigators involved in human rights issues, conducted interviews with hundreds of activists arrested after the December elections in Belarus. They found that torture, beatings and inhumane conditions of detention in prisons — a common practice in a country that still calls his Secret Service abbreviation "KGB," notes Jerome Taylor in his article, "Lukashenko: the dictator in the dock."

Of the 205 respondents 148 were beaten in prison

At least 689 people were arrested on December 19, when Lukashenko ordered a detachment of special police to suppress pro-democracy protests in the center of Minsk. After that, hundreds of people were thrown in jail, and many opposition politicians, journalists and social activists have been threatened to sign up to 15 years on charges of organizing mass actions, like the author.

Belarusian and international human rights activists interviewed 205 detainees from among those whom the authorities have already released, sentenced to a fine or a short period of time after a hasty courts without lawyers. 148 of 205 people reported that they were beaten during the pre-trial detention, while 57 said they were beaten with batons.

"In many cases, security officials beat and humiliated people detained after the protests, and at times kept in the cold, deprived of water, food and basic amenities, and then hastily organized the courts have their sentences without any hint of a properly conducted trial," — says Anna Sevartsyan, director of Human Rights Watch's Russia, which published the data.

H2O Law against Lukashenko

Svetlana, 19-year-old demonstrator, described how three policemen pounced on her after she asked for a lawyer and then refused to sign the protocol. "One of the policemen held my hands behind my back and the other two started to beat me with clubs, — said Svetlana. — Other prisoners began screaming, and then I was taken to another room, filled with protocol and there were not even shown it to me, saying:" You still do not sign, but this is not essential. "

Jerome Taylor in the article provides concrete examples of torture in Belarusian prisons and reports that one of the leading companies pravaabarnochyh, H20 Law, which is the first to use the British legal system for prosecuting financial assets "Real IRA", announced that it plans to launch a private prosecution and, and make a civil claim Mr Lukashenko.

The company is the movement of H2O Law "Free Belarus Now" ("the immediate release of Belarus") — a group of enthusiasts based families of arrested opposition politicians and journalists.

"We are confident that we have what it takes to bring a private prosecution and civil action to Alexander Lukashenko," — said Jason Makyu, founding partner of H2O Law.

A warrant for the arrest of Lukashenka

Lawyers hope that a private prosecution will issue an arrest warrant Lukashenko. "It's a 56-year-old former head of the farm, which has set kvazisavetskay state in the country with 10 million people, which banned independent media, and 80% of the entire industry is under government control," — explains the author, noting that the warrant of arrest may be issued and associates Lukashenko.

The Belarusian leader and his entourage have already fallen under the ban on entry to the EU, but the arrest warrant applies to countries outside the EU with which Britain has an extradition agreement.

The first case is the trial of the head of a sovereign state

H2O Law Lukashenko intends to pursue on behalf of the victims and also plans measures against its financial assets in the UK and globally.

Company Law H2O first invited to draw the attention of the UN and the International Court of Justice in The Hague on human rights violations in Belarus. But the allegations of torture, especially after the statement of former presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich, were given the opportunity to go further.

If H20 Law will operate as planned, it will be the first time that human rights lawyers to prosecute the head of a sovereign state.
Under international law, torture — one of the few types of crimes on charges which may be required to remove the immunity suverena.

"If the prosecution involves guilt in torture, potentially it will use the general jurisdiction of the court, and it can also cancel sovereign immunity, which can claim Lukashenko," — says Matthew Jur, a lawyer H2O Law, who has spent the last month in conversations with refugees from Belarus, fleeing to Europe.

H2O Law has used the U.S. courts to prosecute Muammar Gaddafi for what he provided explosives vaevnikov "Real IRA". Two years ago, the company has been successful in demanding compensation of 1.6 million pounds from the "Real IRA" for the bombing in Omagh. That explosion in Northern Ireland was held August 15, 1988 and was organized by members of the organization "Real Irish Republican Army" ("Real IRA"). As a result of the car bomb, killing 29 people and about 220 people were injured.


Head of the Press Service of the President of Belarus Paul Light, commenting on the article The Independent, said: "The prospects in this venture — zero. It is in fact nothing more than a PR campaign gentlemen lawyers. It's just a way to somehow draw attention to themselves by using well-known Belarusian leader and the political exigencies of the situation. I think that the organizers are well aware that it is an empty advertising zilch. But The Independent, without examining the substance of the matter, simply fell for a cheap trick. The image of a serious publication like this, in my opinion, just hurts. "

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