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Belarus' human rights center has evidence of 450 people beaten up by police during riots

More than 6,000 people were detained and kept in custody for up to ten days, with their whereabouts being unknown, the center said

MINSK, August 25. /TASS/. Belarusian human rights activists have recorded evidence from 450 people who were beaten up by police during protests, the Vesna human rights center said on Tuesday.

The Vesna center said in a press statement posted on its website on Tuesday in partnership with the World Organization Against Torture it had organized a campaign to collect information about victims of tortures and police abuses in a period from August 12 to 20. It said it had received evidence from more than 450 victims, with photos and videos and had interviewed more than 100 people injured during riots.

"More than 6,000 people were detained and kept in custody for up to ten days, with their whereabouts being unknown. At least 450 of them were beaten up," the center said. "These facts of torture and mistreatment are systemic."

The human rights activists point to the fact that despite numerous reports about police abuses, not a single criminal case has been initiated by the Belarusian Investigative Committee and no one from among those who organized or committed crimes against participants in peaceful rallies and casual bystanders has been detained.

The Vesna human rights center, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the World Organization Against Torture, and the International Federation for Human Rights have asked an urgent say from the United Nations special rapporteur on torture.

On August 9, Belarus held its sixth presidential election since declaring independence in 1991. According to the final results of Sunday’s voting, the incumbent president, Alexander Lukashenko, won 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, scored 10.12% of votes.

Mass protests and clashes with police took place in Minsk and other Belarusian cities after exit poll results were made public. As a result, some 7,000 people were detained, dozens of law enforcers and demonstrators were injured during the first days of protests, when law enforcers tear gas, water cannons, flash bang grenades, and plastic bullets to disperse the protesters.