“As a result, I lost my pregnancy”.
The story of a young woman from Grodno.
Karina Malinouskaya is a young mother raising a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter. She could have had another child, but fate decided otherwise…
Intimidation, insults and pressure…
- I was detained on August 11 near my house. I was sitting in the car and talking to my mother on the phone. Three men in plainclothes approached, opened the door of the car and asked me to get out. They said I had to go to the police station with them.
Karina shows a video taken by her neighbors around the house.
- They took me to a police department on Dubko Street in Grodno, to an office with many policemen in uniform. Two more came in, one was in a balaclava. The second one, dressed in civilian clothes, immediately hit me so hard that I fell on the floor.
They began to threaten me, they screamed at me and insulted me. They told me they would take my child away, and that my mother, who had already come to the police department to search for me, would be detained too.
Demands to sign the protocol
- I was taken for one of the coordinators of street protests. On August 10, I spoke on the phone with an acquaintance who is a public activist. The conversation was obviously overheard. He was caught the day that we were going to meet, and I was detained the following day.
I was asked to sign a protocol if I did not want to lose my child. The situation was as follows: should I sign the report, I would be taken to prison, convicted and released.
Then, out of nowhere, someone hit me hard in the stomach. I screamed and told them that I was pregnant. After that, they locked me in a cell. After three hours my stomach started to hurt badly, I asked to call an ambulance, and repeated that I was pregnant.
A few minutes later a man and a woman came to the cell. The man was putting psychological pressure on me. None of them introduced themselves, I don’t even know their last names. They threatened: if it turned out that I was not pregnant, they would take me to the “gym” (this is the place where the detainees were tortured).
I was examined by a doctor who was in the police department, she said she was not sure about my pregnancy. I told them that if something happened to me, they would be held responsible. Apparently, my words convinced them, because they called an ambulance after all.
- I was taken to a city hospital, where a gynecologist examined me and did an ultrasound. The doctor confirmed the pregnancy and expressed a concern that I had a cyst. He insisted on urgent hospitalization to carry out the necessary treatment.
I informed the police of the doctor’s conclusion. In response, the woman in the uniform who accompanied me told me that if I stayed, I would be handcuffed to the bed, and then I would still have to go to prison. She offered another option: “come with us to the police department, in the morning you will be taken to prison, we will have a trial, and you will be released home”.
I agreed because I was constantly thinking about my child, and had no idea how I would lie handcuffed to the bed… The only thing I asked the police was not to beat me anymore.
“I turned my face away…”
- In prison, I was immediately shown men being beaten. The police personnel also wanted to beat me, but one of the policemen shouted that I was pregnant and took me aside.
I turned my face away when these men were beaten, but one of the policemen kept turning it back so that I could see what was happening. It was like footage from a movie: the Gestapo in black beat innocent people, brutally, without remorse. Insanity!
Then my condition declined and I started shaking, like in a fever. This frightened the police, and they took me to the doctor.
The paramedic in prison turned out to be more humane, he asked about my condition and called an ambulance. I was taken to the hospital again. There was a rupture of the cyst, and the doctor said I needed an immediate surgery. I had surgery at 5 am. Later I found out I lost my pregnancy…
I stayed there for several days, no one from the police bothered me.
Forced to admit something that never happened
- When I got home, the police started calling me. They never introduced themselves, but they demanded that I come to them, sign a report and receive a fine for being detained on August 11. According to the report, I allegedly was screaming out swearings and attacked people next to my house.
When my lawyer and I later got familiarized with the materials of the administrative case, it was written that I was allegedly trading firecrackers. In fact, I never had anything to do with the firecracker trade.
Here I need to say what I missed in my story. When I was detained on August 11 and when I was threatened to lose my child, they set a condition: they would not take my child away if I told on a video recording that I was selling firecrackers and handed them over to an acquaintance, who then threw them at the police. They made me admit something that never happened.
During the recording, I was asking every few seconds: “yes? right? is that what you need?” And it helped in a way, because it ruined the recording. Later, this video of me was shown on BT (Belarusian Television, main pro-government channel) together with footages of the other detainees in similar situations. Yet, while everyone there “confessed” to some crimes, in my case, only my face was on the screen, and not my voice. By the way, for this I am going to sue BT.
I will continue to sue
- In the end, I refused to sign the protocol, and then I was told that a new one would be created — for participating in a solidarity chain, which I attended on August 14. In fact, later the police came to my home, handed over this report along with the invitation to court.
But at that time my child was ill, so I told them that I would not come to the court, I was on sick leave. They offered to send a car for me. The judge then texted me by SMS to show up, and I replied that I had a sick leave.
Friday was the last day of the administrative offense case, and on Monday, under current law, they could not even hold a trial on this case anymore. Nevertheless, I was sentenced to pay a fine.
Now I am preparing an appeal to the regional court against the decision of the Leninski district court of Grodno.