Updated at 18:32,10-08-2020

Uladzimir Kobets says that he was released in exchange for pledging to cooperate with KGB


Opposition activist Uladzimir Kobets revealed that he had been released from jail earlier this year in exchange for agreeing to cooperate with the Committee for State Security (KGB).

The campaign chief for presidential candidate Andrey Sannikaw in last year’s presidential race was arrested immediately after a December 19 post-election street protest and placed in the KGB’s detention center in Minsk. He was unexpectedly released on January 26 on his own recognizance.

In an article posted on http://www.charter97.org on Monday, Mr. Kobets, who is currently staying abroad, wrote that giving a written pledge to cooperate with the KGB was the only way for him to be released. According to the activist, he did so after learning that the KGB had been spying on him and his family.

Mr. Kobets also confirmed that opposition activists held in the KGB jail following the post-election protest had been subjected to torturous treatment. "We were abused by masked officers of an unknown unit who were armed with electroshock weapons and truncheons. They searched us, made us strip naked and squat, and stand with our upper bodies bent and legs apart, kicked our legs, forced us to climb a steep staircase with our hands handcuffed, and verbally abused us," Mr. Kobets said.

The politician wrote that he had been offered to cooperate with the KGB during multiple interrogations held in the absence of his lawyer.

Mr. Kobets was held in the KGB jail on suspicion of participating in "mass disorder" in connection with the post-election protest. The case against him was dropped by police in August.

Mr. Kobets' revelation mirrors that of former presidential candidate Ales Mikhalevich, who told reporters in February that the conditions in the KGB jail were tantamount to torture and forced him to promise to act as the KGB's informant.