24 July 2019, Wednesday, 4:26
We are in the same boat

New SWAT on Persecution of Opposition Activists Established

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The BNC Rada demands to cease kidnapping of opposition activists.

SWAT is established in Belarus; its task is to neutralize famous activists and opposition leaders, as well as terror against their family members.

The statement "Stop the Political Terror" of the Rada of the Belarusian National Congress (BNC Rada) says it. Its content is as follows:

- The authorities have long been exercising preventive detentions of activists and opposition leaders before street actions. Earlier police officers who introduced themselves and showed documents did it. The regime at least used to play the compliance with the law.

After spring protests in the year of 2017 the situation has changed. Several days before an action starts, unknown armed people siege houses and flats of opposition activists; they put pressure on their relatives and neighbours, threaten with an attack or even physical altercation; they kidnap people on the streets. They use force, do not introduce themselves, do not show their documents and do not explain their actions. Activists are immediately deprived of their mobile phones, and not allowed to get dressed and to lock the door.

Only in 2018, before rallies of March 25 and May 1 Jauhen Afnahel, Maksim Viniarski, Leanid Kulakou, Volha Mikalaichyk, Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, Viachyslau Siuchyk, Mikalai Statkevich and other regional opposition leaders were detained that way. Dozens of activists were unable to get to authorized rallies as they had no opportunity to leave their flats and houses.

The management of the Minsk Directorate of Internal Affairs give orders and is reported on detentions in the city. The same scheme is practiced in the regions. The smooth interaction between kidnappers and the police leadership and their operation aspects make it possible to conclude that a special unit was established under the Ministry of Internal Affairs; its task is to neutralize famous activists and opposition leaders, as well as terror against their family members.

The BNC Rada demands from the authorities of the Republic of Belarus:

- to investigate the activity of illegal armed group on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, to find out who authorized its creation and runs its work,

- to stop political terror against activists and opposition leaders and their families.

The BNC Rada appeals to the Belarusian and international community for solidarity with activists and opposition leaders, as well as with all citizens of the country, who are harassed for political reasons.