The head of the Interior Ministry called the raids against the Roma "justified".
Prior to the meeting in the "parliament", journalists asked Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich how he assesses the situation around the Roma diaspora in Mahiliou after the death of the traffic policeman, tut.by reports.
– I assess the actions of my subordinates in this part as absolutely justified, responding to the circumstances in which the investigation of this particularly serious crime was carried out. There were grounds and reasons, we worked with a separate group only on the basis of the evidence obtained at that time. The source of evidence was the information from the victim, so we had no doubts about the reliability of those data at that time, and we were obliged to check all the versions, including the one on which the decision to check the diaspora of some of our citizens was based.
Ihar Shunevich said that "the minister has no reason or grounds to apologize to the Roma."
Answering the questions, the minister noted that he had been repeatedly accused of xenophobia.
– This is useless. I consider any of my statements from the point of view of performing my functional duties.
The report that a police officer was kidnapped in Mahiliou appeared in the evening of May 16. The entire Mahiliou regional police force was raised on the alert and roadblocks were set up all over the country. They were looking for a black Volga with a Russian registration number. According to the original version, the traffic policeman was pushed into the black Volga by three unknown persons of Roma or Caucasian origin in the Chapayeuka neighborhood and taken to an unknown direction. That is why on May 17, the police "shook down" the houses of the representatives of the Roma nationality, whom there live a lot. Everyone was taken for questioning: teenagers, women and men. The latter were left in the police station and pre-trial detention center for at least 24 hours, and the women were released at 4 a.m.
On 20 May the Investigation Committee reported that the main version of the death of the traffic policeman in Mahiliou was suicide.
Chairman of the Viasna Human Rights Center Ales Beliatski has sent a request to the General Prosecutor's Office to check the legality of detention of Roma citizens in Mahiliou on May 16.
After the brutal raid, Mahiliou Roma have written an appeal to Lukashenka's assistant Mikhail Rusy asking to protect them.