Human rights groups have denounced inhumane conditions in which thousands of protestors were detained and beaten by police, amid huge protests that have weakened Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko’s grip on power.
One demonstrator, Arthur Khomenko, said police officers began beating him with their fists and in one instance they pulled down his underwear and threatened to rape him with a truncheon.
Khomenko then spent most of the next week with searing pain and partial hearing loss, where doctors diagnosed him with a traumatic brain injury, concussion and bruising across his head and body.
Valentin Stefanovich, deputy head of the Spring human rights group, said it has found 500 cases of police torture since Lukashenko won a disputed presidential election on 9 August.
The United Nations human rights investigators urge Belarusian authorities to stop their abuse after receiving hundreds of reports of torture, beatings and mistreatment of anti-government protestors.
Ales Belyatski, of the rights group Viasna, stated, "In a cell where normally five to seven people are detained, there are 50 or 70 people. They are standing, they can't sit,"
He went on to say,
“There isn't enough water. They suffer physical violence. They are beaten when they're detained, they're beaten again when they're brought to the local station. Then, they're beaten in detention, and now they're beaten when they're released.”