Belarus KGB denies former presidential candidate’s torture claims

MINSK, March 5 (Itar-Tass) -- The state security committee (KGB) of Belarus has dismissed as untrue statements by oppositional ex-presidential candidate Alexei Mikhalevich to the effect that at the KGB remand prison he was subjected to torture and recruited as a secret agent.

As the public relations department of the Belarusian KGB said, "Mikhalevich’s claims regarding a confidential relationship with the agencies of state security and ‘torture’ at the detention center are false and the information being disseminated in connection with this is defamatory." The KGB said that the decision to change the preventive measure against Mikhalevich “was taken in coordination with the prosecution authorities in accordance with Mikhalevich’s acknowledgement of his awareness of all responsibility for the committed illegal acts, as well as his own petition in writing for clemency."

The official website of the KGB also published a fragment of a copy of the ex-presidential candidate’s petition, addressed to the Belarusian head of state Alexander Lukashenko. In this letter, Mikhalevich, in particular, wrote: "I always treated you with respect, and your contribution to the independence of Belarus is undeniable and very large. During my election campaign I said nothing bad either about you or your relatives and friends. I am asking you to put the issue of my fate under your personal control."

Mikhalevich, was arrested in the small hours of December 20 last year as part of a criminal investigation of the riots that took place in Minsk after the voting in the presidential election. On February 19 he was released from the KGB detention center on his own recognizance. A few days later Mikhalevich held a press conference to announce that he had received freedom in exchange for signing an agreement of cooperation with the KGB. The ex-presidential candidate also said that in jail he and other prisoners were subject to brutal torture.


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