Maxim Sarychau
I don't Want to Kill You

(2019)
PRAFOTA 2020 Documentary Photography Short-list
Violence and torture are frequently used by the police as well as by Belarus' penitentiary and security agencies. This is one of the conclusions of the UN Human Rights Council report for 2018. The heroes of this project have faced police brutality and have been relentlessly trying to defend their rights by legal means. Complaints concerning the unlawful behaviour of the police are considered in Belarus by the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Investigative Committee and the Internal Security Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. According to the UN, out of 614 reports of acts constituting torture and ill-treatment received between 2012 and 2015, only ten were subject to criminal investigation. Sometimes, administrative and criminal cases are initiated against the complainants to put additional pressure on them. Meanwhile, some of the victims are aware of the psychological effects of violence and often fail to see the need for psychological assistance. They may experience high-pitched agitation, be depressed or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In Belarus, there are no organisations providing psychological assistance to torture victims. Belarus is the only country on the European continent which is not a member of the Council of Europe, therefore, it is not judicable by the European Court of Human Rights. At the international level, Belarusians can only complain about their government to the UN Human Rights Committee. But until now, Belarus has not abode by a single decision of the UNHRC.
Short-list 2020: