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Belarusian Activist 'Beaten' By Police Before Being Jailed

Kastus Zhukouski
Kastus Zhukouski
HOMEL, Belarus -- An opposition activist in the eastern Belarusian city of Homel says he was beaten and detained by police today before being sentenced to 15 days in jail for insulting police and resisting arrest, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Kastus Zhukouski asked Judge Maryna Damnenka at the start of his trial in the Homel Central district court to conduct the trial in Belarusian and to invite a doctor to the courtroom.

Zhukouski appeared tired, had bruises on his forehead, and his shirt was torn when he appeared in court, RFE/RL reports.

Zhukouski told the judge he had a headache, nausea, and his neck, legs, and hands hurt. The judge allowed him to testify while sitting and ruled he should be taken to a clinic for an examination and treatment before the trial resumes.

Zhukouski said he saw a police car near his house in Homel on September 21 and that several officers wearing special security forces (Spetsnaz) uniforms were in the car.

Zhukouski decided to take his video camera and film the car. He said when he went to the street the car started driving at him. Three people then came from behind a dumpster and attacked him, he said, while two men came from the car and joined the others in assaulting him.

Zhukouski said he then started shouting for help.

The police later took him to a police station where he said they insulted him before he called them "goats." Zhukouski said that is the term that was used by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on television when he criticized police work.

"If you consider it cursing or an insulting word, then yes, I have cursed the police," Zhukouski said.

Read more in Belarusian here and here