Belarus regime initiates torture chamber tours to deter corruption

By : dpa

Minsk - Officials in Belarus began state-mandated tours of Soviet-era torture chambers and prisons on Thursday as the regime kicked off an anti-corruption campaign.

The first government employee to participate in the programme visited a detention centre in the capital Minsk, said attorney general Grigory Vassilievich.

"There are always the same crimes in the same areas - in the energy sector, in commerce and the economy," Vasilevich said.

Government departments also should test the honesty of applicants with lie detector tests, he said.

Official corruption is widespread in Belarus, a former Soviet republic run almost single-handed by President Aleksander Lukashenko.

Lukashenko, a former collective farm boss, has called for tougher enforcement of anti-corruption laws, and argued in favour of Spartan conditions in prisons as necessary punishment for convicts.

European civil rights activists have described prison conditions in Belarus are as inhuman, citing torture, poor diet and bad hygiene conditions in the country's detention centres.

Belarus is the only European country to enforce the death penalty, with the most recent executions - of two convicted murderers - carried out in recent weeks. mra/bvi sbk ds


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