Ales Bialiatski
Photo: human rights centre “Viasna”

Human rights activist demands to inspect.

Chairman of the human rights center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski sent to the General Prosecutor the statement with the request to check the legality of the detention of citizens of Gypsy nationality on 16 may in Mogilev, reports the website of the HRC “Viasna”.

Of the many messages in the media it became known that on may 16, 2019 in Mogilev in the RAID of law enforcement, which was carried out within investigation of criminal case on the fact of alleged killing of a traffic policeman Evgeny Potapovich, there was a mass detention of citizens of Roma ethnicity.

During this RAID, the representatives of the Ministry of internal Affairs in places of compact residence of representatives of this nationality were detained about 100 people, including women, minors and men. Some of them were later released, while the men, in number about 50 people, was detained for three days. As it became known later, the detainees were initiated administrative proceedings for allegedly committed disorderly conduct.

Given the circumstances and place of their detention (at the place of their immediate residence), it is evidence of illegal, arbitrary nature.

“Obviously, because the legitimate grounds listed in article 108 of the code of criminal procedure for detention of citizens as suspects in the investigation were missing, someone had taken the decision on their arrest in connection with the alleged administrative offenses, namely, disorderly conduct. This gave the opportunity to the investigators to contain detainees as persons against whom administrative process is conducted, up to three days and interrogated in the framework of the criminal case with violation of legal guarantees and procedures stipulated by the current criminal procedure code of the Republic of Belarus”, – says the Chairman of “Spring”.

Ales Bialiatski notes that all the detentions took place solely on a national basis. In addition, according to numerous eyewitnesses and victims, the detentions were accompanied with use of physical force, insults and intimidation.

In his opinion, voiced by the media about possible involvement in the alleged murder of a policeman of Roma nationality in combination with such demonstrative actions of the Ministry of interior could cause serious dangerous consequences in respect of the national group.

“I believe that this situation required the response of both local and Republican authorities to prevent the possible escalation of ethnic conflict”, – said in a statement, the human rights activist.

The facts of ethnic profiling of the Roma national minority by the security forces in Belarus have systematic.

Human rights activist recalls that, for these facts have repeatedly drawn the attention of the international organizations. Thus, in its concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Belarus, adopted by the Committee on human rights of the UN on the outcome of the periodic report of the Republic of Belarus on 8 and 9 October 2018, the Committee noted in particular that the state party should take effective measures to address discrimination against Roma and to fight against incitement to hatred and to eradicate racial profiling by law enforcement agencies.

According to Byalyatski, mass arrests of representatives of the Roma national minority only on the basis of their ethnicity indicate the continuation of this negative practices in our country.

In this regard, in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Belarus “On the Prosecutor’s office of the Republic of Belarus”, he asks:

To conduct a Prosecutor’s check of legality of detention of Roma citizens by police officers 16 my 2019, in Mogilev and to take appropriate measures of prosecutorial response.

Carefully consider unreasonable use of force, physical violence, failure to provide necessary assistance in respect of detainees and the conditions of their detention.

Inform on results of consideration of this application in the manner and within the terms established by the current legislation on citizens.