Three members of a Ukrainian feminist group have alleged that officials of the Belarussian Komitet Gosudarstvennoitt Bezopasnosti (KGB) kidnapped and forced them to strip naked, inside a forest, for staging topless protests against the country's dictatorship.
The women, who were a part of a group called Femen, went missing on Monday, following protests outside the KGB's office in Minsk against President Alexander Lukashenko's controversial re-election in December last year.
They were blindfolded and driven around in a bus all night, Femen said, in a statement reported by AFP. The women were allegedly kidnapped from a city railway station.
They were taken into the woods, had oil poured on them, were forced to take their clothes off, were threatened to be set on fire, Femen's statement added. The agents were also accused of recording the events on a video camera.
They threatened them with a knife which they later used to cut off their hair, the statement continued, then they threw them out into the woods naked and without documents.
The three women, who have been identified as Inna Shevchenko, Oxana Shachko and Alexandra Nemchinova, managed to get out of the forest and reached a village in the country's southeast.
The feminists' topless protests were part of a demonstration by a group of people who oppose Lukashenko's authoritarian regime. Monday's protests also marked the anniversary of a police crackdown on the president's opponents. Protests in 2010 resulted in 700 arrests, damaging efforts made by the West to bring the reclusive ex-Soviet state into the mainstream of international relations.
The country's intelligence agency closely monitors Lukashenko's opponents and human rights activists and is notorious for stifling the independent media. Western countries, including the U.S., have described Lukashenko as a dictator; however, the Belarus government has accused the same Western powers of trying to oust him.
The KGB declined to comment on the Femen statement. However, spokesperson Alexander Antonovich earlier described the protests as a provocation.
Journalists, including an AFP photographer covering the protest, were detained by security officials.