Exclusive: Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko rejects abuse reports as ‘fake and fantasy’

Watch CNN’s exclusive interview on “The Lead with Jake Tapper,” Friday at 4 p.m. ET.

CNN cited evidence from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International of some detainees reporting injuries including broken bones and burns, while others said they were forced to lie naked in dirt while being assaulted.

Lukashenko responded: “You know, we don’t have a single detention center, as you say, like Guantanamo, or those bases that the United States and your country created in Eastern Europe … As regards our own detention centers, where we keep those accused or those under investigation, they are no worse than in Britain or the United States. I can guarantee you that.”

Lukashenko has been president of Belarus since 1994 and is known in some circles as “Europe’s last dictator.”

Presidential elections last year were met with widespread protests across the country from a growing opposition movement. In a crackdown that followed Lukashenko’s disputed victory, opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya fled the country, while others have been jailed.

US President Joe Biden issued a sweeping executive order in August to target those in Lukashenko’s regime involved in the repression of human rights and democracy.

But pressed about the reports of brutality, Lukashenko was dismissive and refused to apologize to Belarusians for the repression they’ve faced from his government.

“Everything that you’ve just said is fake and fantasy,” he said. “I guarantee you it’s fake and fantasy.”

Lukashenko spoke to CNN in a lengthy discussion at the Palace of Independence in the capital city, Minsk. More of the interview will be published on Friday.

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