GENEVA, September 18./TASS/. Belarus’ Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva Yury Ambrazevich dismissed reports about political prisoners in the country during emergency debates on the situation in Belarus on Friday.
"Allegations about political prisoners in the country have nothing to do with the reality. We have certain people in custody based on concrete criminal cases in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Rules," the envoy specified on Friday.
Ambrazevich also said that the nation’s law enforcement agencies were looking into hundreds of complaints alleging police brutality during the countrywide protests. "Measures to establish order, detentions, hauling in detained persons and their detention in custody triggered a host of accusations over excessive use of force," he said.
"According to the information we have on hand, more than 900 complaints over police abuse have been filed. All of them are being looked into," the diplomat insisted.
Nationwide demonstrations have engulfed Belarus following the August 9 presidential election. According to the Central Election Commission’s official results, incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko won by a landslide, garnering 80.10% of the vote. His closest rival in the race, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, came in second, with 10.12% of the ballot. However, she refused to recognize the election’s outcome, and left Belarus for Lithuania.
Later, Tikhanovskaya launched the Coordination Council, stating that its mission focuses on a would-be transfer of power. The council elected a presidium of seven people. On August 19, the Belarusian General Prosecutor’s Office launched a criminal case over public appeals for a seizure of power. At the moment, Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich is the only one that remains free in Belarus out of the members of the presidium.
After the results of the exit polls were announced late on August 9, mass protests erupted in downtown Minsk and other Belarusian cities. During the early post-election period, the rallies snowballed into fierce clashes between the protesters and law enforcement. Police used tear gas, water cannons, stun grenades and rubber bullets against the demonstrators. Then, however, they ceased using force to disperse the protests. According to official data, almost 7,000 people were taken into custody in the first days after the election. Hundreds of people were injured, with over 120 police officers among them, the Interior Ministry reported.