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Belarusians accuse authorities of torture and humiliation during mass detentions

August 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

MINSK, BELARUS - AUGUST 09: Protesters and riot police clash during a protest against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's claim of a landslide victory on August 9, 2020 in Minsk, Belarus. Lukashenko is seeking to extend his 26-year rule amid a wave of public protests, partly inspired by the government's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as broader economic issues. (Photo by Misha Friedman/Getty Images)

Several people who were detained for participating in mass protests in Belarus this week allege that the country's security forces beat, tortured and humiliated them while in government custody.

Minsk, Belarus (CNN)Several people who were detained for participating in mass protests in Belarus this week allege that the country's security forces beat, tortured and humiliated them while in government custody.

Lukashenko's government had already been accused of responding to the protests with disproportionate force and violence, but the accusations of mistreating people behind bars has prompted renewed public outrage toward the government.

She said she was forced forced to strip naked alongside other women before being searched at a detention center.

Olesya said she spent around 14 hours inside the facility and was released after being forced to sign a paper with what she says were false charges against her.

Some were missing for days, according to people interviewed by CNN, as the authorities often do not disclose the location of detainees and forbid passing food, water or medication.

"People are being beaten up, tortured from the moment when they are detained in the streets," Ivan said.

The Russian independent news outlet Znak. com published an account by one of its journalists, Nikita Telizhenko, who reported in Minsk and said he had spent 16 hours detained with multiple protesters grabbed from the streets who were forced to lie face down in pools of blood, with some men stacked on top of another.

During an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Maria Kolesnikova -- the last of the three women who became the faces of the country's opposition still in the country -- wore a white suit as she said she believed that the clashes over the disputed elections results signal the decline of Lukashenko's presidency.

The independent monitoring group "Honest People" said that according to its data, Tikhanovskay -- who was standing in for her jailed husband -- had won in at least 80 polling stations across Belarus in Sunday's vote, prompting many to demand a recount.

Another video posted by Belarusian TV station Nexta, shows a police officer named Ivan Kolos saying he refuses to follow "criminal orders. " He urged his colleagues to not point guns at peaceful people and be with them instead.

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