German police have trained dozens of members of hard-line Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's security forces, a German newspaper has reported. They were tasked with bringing the militia up to EU standards.
At least 100 members of the Belarusian security forces benefited from German police training between 2008 and 2011, the German interior ministry told daily newspaper Tagesspiegel.
In a report published on Friday, the newspaper said German officers also travelled to the country to train a further 400 border police, forensic scientists, and leading members of the feared militia.
According to an interior ministry spokesperson, the purpose of the training was to "bring the country to EU standards using the example of the German police."
As part of their training, Belarusian security forces accompanied a police operation at an anti-nuclear waste demonstration in the German state of Lower Saxony in November 2010. They observed as police held back protesters using water cannons, batons and tear gas. According to anti-nuclear activists at least 500 people were injured during the police operation, the newspaper said.
Lukashenko, who is often referred to as "Europe's last dictator," has been in power since 1994. His authoritarian style of rule has frequently led the EU and United States to accuse Belarus of committing human rights abuses as well as detaining political opponents.
In January 2011, the EU froze its assets and imposed a travel ban on dozens of firms and hundreds of senior figures in the Belarusian administration. The German police operation was ended in the same year.
ccp/lw (dpa, AFP)