The tape discusses the murder of Aliaksandr Taraikouski and plans for the creation of internment camps for protesters
15 January 2021, 14:38 | AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Amnesty International comments on the publication of an audio recording, in which one of the highest-ranking Interior Ministry officials in Belarus apparently gives criminal orders to police to use unlawful force against peaceful protesters and disregard international law.
“Of the string of incriminating leaks showing that Belarusian authorities crushed peaceful protest through pre-meditated human rights violations, this recording – if authentic – is the most damning. It must be immediately, impartially and effectively investigated,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“If a top-level police officer is telling his force to target rubber bullets at testicles, stomachs and faces, and if he is proposing the creation of internment camps for the most active protesters, plus implying that their deaths would merely rid the country of people it does not need, then under international law he is ordering the commitment of crimes,” he said.
If a top-level police officer is telling his force to target rubber bullets at testicles, stomachs and faces, […] then under international law he is ordering the commitment of crimesDenis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia
“The voice in the recording also refers to the direct instructions of ‘the head of state’. This begs the question of how his comments from this recording can be effectively investigated in Belarus. However, the state is responsible for investigating human rights violations and prosecuting those reasonably suspected in fair trial proceedings. We demand nothing less,” said Krivosheev.
BYPOL, a group formed by Belarusian police officers who quit the force in response to its role in crushing peaceful protests, published a recording allegedly featuring the voice of the current Deputy Interior Minister, Mikalai Karpiankou, speaking to his subordinates sometime in October 2020. At the time, he was in charge of the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption.
The recording contains numerous statements which, if true, directly incriminate the police force in human rights violations, including the death of peaceful protester Aliaksandr Taraikouski on 10 August 2020. He died from a lethal wound when security forces fired a rubber bullet directly at his chest.