2021-08-05
Camp for political prisoners near Slutsk. 2020.

CNN released a report on a possible camp for political prisoners in Belarus.

The camp is located in a forest within an hour’s drive from Minsk, near the settlement of Navakolasava, on the site of a Soviet-era missile storage facility. The camp covers over 80 hectares. Three layers of electrified fence and new security cameras have been installed along the perimeter of the facility. The camp has military guards and a No Entry sign. It has newly refurbished barrack buildings, reflective glass, and windows with bars. Navakolasava residents refer to the facility as the camp.

The journalists have not been able to access the interior of the facility, hence, they cannot confirm that the camp has already housed prisoners. CNN hasn’t managed to find direct evidence that the facility is being used as a prison camp.

Last year, information surfaced about construction of another camp, near Slutsk. Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Mikalai Karpiankou referred to it as “a camp for particularly sharp-hoofed animals”. That camp was not actively used: detainees were brought in on 12 August 2020, yet they were released on 15 August, and the camp was liquidated in a few days.

Belarusian opposition expressed apprehension that the Lukashenko regime might resort to mass arrests on 9 August, which marks the first anniversary of the protests in Belarus. For instance, the offender detention center on Akrestsina Street in Minsk is freeing up the cells for the weekend, while prisoners are being transferred to other prisons.