He was woken up several times a night and had to undress: the reporter Alexander Burakov has now been released from custody in Belarus. His employer remains concerned.
In Belarus, a correspondent for Deutsche Welle (DW) was released after 20 days in prison. After his release, Alexander Burakov complained about inhuman detention conditions, according to a DW report on Tuesday. He was woken up twice a night and had to strip naked.
In addition, he received neither a pillow nor a blanket and was often frozen. He had to end a hunger strike after seven days because of health problems. Burakov was arrested in May in the city of Mogilev, east of the capital Minsk, when he was about to report on a trial against opposition politicians.
“Silencing the last independent voices”
DW director Peter Limbourg said he was relieved that Burakov was released, who had already been sentenced to ten days in prison last year. At the same time, Limbourg expressed concern about the media situation in the country. “It is becoming more and more likely that the regime in Belarus will try to silence the last independent voices in the country – by whatever means.”
Since the protests against ruler Alexander Lukashenko began last summer, the authorities have repeatedly cracked down on the media. Several prison terms have been imposed. After the presidential election, which was widely regarded as falsified, hundreds of thousands of people had at times called for Lukashenko’s resignation and new elections. Even the EU no longer recognizes the 66-year-old, often criticized as the “last dictator of Europe”, as president.
The conflict with the West recently came to a head when Lukashenko forced a passenger plane to land in Minsk in order to arrest one of his opponents. The blogger Roman Protassewitsch, who is critical of the government, and his girlfriend have been in custody ever since.