The following statement from Yes to Life, No to Mining’s Mongolian member group DMNN describes the arrest and incarceration of Beejin, DMNN’s Leader.
Yes to Life, No to Mining have documented how Beejin and other DMNN staff have been subjected to intimidation, death threats and physical violence for their work investigating and protesting illegal mining operations in Mongolia.
We denounce the arrest of Beejin and the manner of his detention. We call for his immediate release.
On February 6, 2016, Beejin, head of DMNN, was driving on the far left lane on Peace Avenue heading west when a Nissan sedan with a license plate number 28-28 UNO, tried to pass him on the wrong side, twice, and eventually hit his vehicle.
Both drivers stepped out of their cars and checked their vehicles. Small amounts of paint were removed in the bumpers of both cars. The other driver, a man by the name of Byambatsogt attacked Beejin for allegedly ‘hitting’ his car, hitting Beejin several times in the head and chest and kicking him. To block himself from further hits, Beejin held Byambatsogt against a fence until a traffic policeman arrived.
The policeman told Beejin to stand there and took Byambatsogt into his car. They talked for five minutes in the police car. The policeman came out of his car, didn’t make any measurements or notes, just said it was Byambatsogt’s fault and took both of their drivers licenses and insurance details and left.
The other driver, Byambatsogt, then called the criminal police and claimed that Beejin had beaten and stabbed him with a knife. One police major and staff sergeant responded to this call and decided to take them to the nearest police station.
Before they left, Beejin demanded that the policemen should search him and his car because the allegation involved a knife which is a considered a weapon. The policemen ignored his demands and brought both men to the 1st precinct of Songinokhairkhan District Police Department.
Whilst at the police station both of men explained what happened. Then the officer on duty assigned a detective named Lkhamsuren, who wrote down what happened. Beejin once again demanded that they did a search on him, his car and the scene, to prove there was no knife. But again his demand was ignored. The police sent both men to a Forensic clinic to get examined and told them to return in the morning.
During the forensic examination, it was discovered that Beejin had many bruises on his chest and legs and brain concussion. The other driver, Byambatsogt, had a centimeter-long scratch above his one knee. Byambatsogt, who was imprisoned in 1985, 1990, 2006 and 2010 for violent assaults with a weapon under Article 181.3, claims that Beejin scratched him with a knife. Since the incident Byambatsogt has tried to paint Beejin as a hard core criminal, spreading all kinds of rumors on social media.
The next morning, Beejin came to the precinct and waited for the detective. After a long wait he was finally able to talk about the incident. Once again he asked the detective to do an investigation at the scene of the incident, which is covered by three street surveillance cameras. Again Beejin’s request was ignored. The presiding police captain and Detective Lkhamsuren never did an inspection of the scene or proved that the scratch was caused by a knife allegedly in Beejin’s possession.
During the next month, Beejin was called to the police precinct several times to be questioned. On March 10, 2016, a month after the incident, the detective told Beejin that he was charging him under Article 181.3 of the Criminal Code of Mongolia, which corresponds with “a crime committed using a weapon or by a violent criminal, the sentence is five to eight years of imprisonment”.
Beejin held a press conference in his office on March 11, 2016 where he talked about the incident and how the police were trying hard to label and paint him a criminal and put him behind bars for no reason.
On March 16th 2016, Beejin was incarcerated in Gants Khudag, a temporary detention center notorious for the abuse, violence and torture of the detainees. Beejin’s attorney has filed for his release with a Mongolian court, but he remains in custody and at serious risk due to pre-existing health problems including high blood pressure and bad kidneys.
Beejin and his organization, DMNN have exposed many violations of Mongolia’s environmental laws by foreign and domestic mining companies, in which Mongolian politicians have a stake. In the past he was verbally and physically abused and assaulted by both mining company representatives and the Mongolian police.
For his efforts to protect his country and its serene nature from greedy companies, Beejin has been targeted and now thrown in jail.