Brest region’s police chief apologizes for violent arrest of elderly vendors in Pinsk


Ivan Sawchyts, chief of the police in the Brest region, has apologized for the conduct of police officers who violently arrested at least four elderly people at a marketplace in Pinsk earlier this month.

In an interview with the Brest Regional Executive Committee’s newspaper Zarya, Mr. Sawchyts described the policemen’s actions as “unprofessional” and said that an internal investigation was underway. The Investigative Committee has also opened a probe into the incident.

Mr. Sawchyts stressed that the elderly people had committed an offense but should not have been mistreated by the police.

The people were apprehended for selling berries and mushrooms without a permit on July 7.

A video showing five athletic police grabbing the elderly and bundling them inside police vehicles was posted on the Internet last week. At one point a policeman was seen grabbing an old woman by her legs and pushing her inside one of the vehicles.

The incident was witnessed by a crowd of scores of people who visibly disapproved of the police's brutality.

According to the police, three people, a 56-year-old man and two women aged 64, were brought to a police station. On July 9, a judge of the Pinsk District and Pinsk City Court sentenced the man to a fine of two million rubels ($230) on a charge of interfering into the handling of a civil offense case. The women were charged with violating trade rules and disobeying police officers but have not appeared in court so far. //BelaPAN