UN Blasts Belarus Over Torture, Abuse

Posted November 25th, 2011 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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The United Nations has slammed Belarus over its record of torture and abuse of detainees by members of its security forces.

The U.N. Committee Against Torture said Friday said it was concerned over numerous and consistent allegations of abuse, and Belarus' failure to investigate the claims.

The committee also expressed worry over the secrecy of death penalty executions, and that families were only informed of the executions weeks later.

On Thursday, three U.N. independent experts warned that new legislative amendments passed by Belarus threatened fundamental civil and political rights in the country.

Under the new law, organizing assemblies without the permission of the authorities is a criminal offense. Spreading information about such gatherings even on social media, now is strictly forbidden.

The Minsk government has cracked down on the opposition, rights activists and journalists following the disputed December 2010 re-election of President Lukashenko.

In October, the European Union extended sanctions against Belarus to ramp up pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko to free political prisoners.

The EU says political opponents in Belarus are being imprisoned without trial and “grave human rights abuses” occur.

President Lukashenko has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994. He was proclaimed the winner in the December presidential vote, which observers said failed to meet international standards.