Russian held in Minsk over protests says police assaulted him

A Russian national detained in Belarus after a mass protest following the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday he was badly beaten by police.

Hundreds of people were detained after the December 19 demonstration in central Minsk. Forty-two people are facing lengthy jail terms for inciting "mass unrest." Last week, Belarusian dissident Vasily Parfenkov was jailed for four years after being found guilty of smashing a window at the parliament building.

Artyom Breus and his compatriot Ivan Gaponov were among those held in the clampdown.

"I received a direct hit on the head and lost consciousness for some time," Breus told a court hearing.

He said he came to on the steps of the parliament building, but suffered another blow from a policeman after demanding to be let go. He added that police attempted to force him into confessing to links with Belarusian opposition figures.

The United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Belarus over the post-election crackdown.

MINSK, February 22 (RIA Novosti)


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