A group of ten Belarusians has filed a criminal complaint in Germany against President Alexander Lukashenko and members of his regime for crimes against humanity, lawyers representing them said Wednesday.
Acting on behalf of “torture victims”, the lawyers have submitted a complaint to federal prosecutors in the city of Karlsruhe against Lukashenko “and other Belarusian security officers”, they said in a statement.
The federal prosecutor’s office confirmed to AFP that it had received the complaint.
Lawyers Mark Lupschitz, Onur Ozata, Roland Krause and Benedikt Lux said they had documented more than 100 examples of “violence, systematic torture and other abuses” during the government crackdown on protests against alleged electoral fraud since August 2020.
“The incumbent government is severely oppressing its own population with a crackdown including arbitrary arrests, politically motivated criminal persecution and other forms of repression,” they said.
The lawyers added that the plaintiffs had all been imprisoned and reported instances of “spurious arrests, torture and abuse” while they were held.
“Furthermore, they were held in much too small cells or transport vehicles, and were physically abused, humiliated, threatened, insulted and degraded in other ways,” they said.
The case is being brought on the principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows a foreign country to prosecute crimes against humanity, including war crimes and genocide, regardless of where they were committed.
The German government had said in February it was ready to host 50 opponents of Lukashenko after months of protests were met with harsh crackdowns by the regime.
Lukashenko claimed victory for a sixth term in August elections that were widely criticized internationally and by the opposition as fraudulent.
State authorities responded to weeks of mass protests with force and have sentenced hundreds of people to lengthy jail terms. Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who says she won the vote, fled abroad.