An Israeli citizen arrested near a site of anti-government protests in Belarus claims the local security forces kidnapped, tortured, beat him and hurled anti-Semitic slurs at him.
Belarus has been rocked by a week of street protests after protesters accused leader Alexander Lukashenko of rigging a presidential election last Sunday, something he denies. A least two protesters have been killed and thousands have been detained since last Sunday's vote.
Alexander Forman and his wife Inessa reportedly arrived at the capital city of Minsk to find information on relatives who were murdered in the city during the Holocaust.
On Tuesday, during a walk near a site where a mass anti-government rally was held, local security forces allegedly arrested Forman and dragged him away from his wife and son to the local police station to be interrogated along with several others detained in the area.
"We were beaten with clubs," testified Forman during an interview for a radio station in Moscow. "With my own eyes, I saw them beat up a kid and a handicapped woman. If anyone moved, they would beat them. At some point they loaded us up in wagons like in Auschwitz."
Forman said several people fainted during the torturous interrogation. "If someone complained, they would beat them with clubs. When the cops realized I was an Israeli citizen, they kept telling anti-Semitic jokes over and over."
According to Forman, he was then taken to a detention facility in the city of Zhodzina, where he was stuffed in a cell with 18 other people. "In the end, they said they lost my passport and my arrest protocol," adds Forman. " They finally let me out on Friday, after 78 hours of detention."
In an interview with Ynet, Forman claims he was not part of the anti-government demonstrations. "We simply walked around the city center and suddenly three men dressed in black jumped us and kidnapped me. They accused me of being an Israeli spy and threw other anti-Semitic accusations," he says.
"I have blue spots from the beating I took, all over my body. They beat up disabled people, people with broken hands and women. I was tortured for 16 hours straight in that police station."
Forman, a Minsk native who immigrated to Israel in 1998, said his experience in the capital served to open his eyes on the reality of the dreadful situation in the country.
"I am determined to aid the people of Belarus get rid of that tyrant. If before I was ignorant to the plight of the Belarusian people, now I am not. What I saw cannot exist in the twenty-first century."
Lukashenko, also known as Europe's last tyrant, registered a dubious win in Belarus' presidential election, prompting tens of thousands of citizens to revolt against the government.
On Sunday, the Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin had told Lukashenko Russia was ready to assist Belarus in accordance with a collective military pact if necessary and said external pressure was being applied to the country, without saying where from.
Reuters contributed to this report