Belarusian Political Prisoners

Yesterday, EU Commissioner Fule met with the wives of Belarusian political prisoners Mikalai Autukhovich and Alex Bialiatski to express the EU’s support for their husbands’ fight for democracy.

Commissioner Fule stated,  ”I fully understand the personal suffering of your husbands and your families. I call once more on the Belarusian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release and rehabilitate all political prisoners. I also urge the authorities to refrain from exercising pressure on and subjecting political prisoners to inhumane conditions.”

More information on these and other prisoners of conscience currently imprisoned in Belarus below:

 

Mikalai Autukhovich
  • Sentenced to five years in prison on May 6, 2010.
  • He is imprisoned in a wet basement cell.
  • His wife Alena Autukhovich has said the following about the conditions:“He is in the maximum security unit. He is allowed two two-hour visits a year, but only through a glass barrier. He can walk for an hour every day. I am allowed to send him a 30-kg parcel once a year. The prison building is old. His cell is in the basement. The walls are wet. The cell is cold even in summer, let alone winter… Parcels are a problem. I wanted to pass him roach poison, but I wasn’t allowed. I was told in prison they would have accepted it if the receiver had not been Autukhovich. They were afraid.”

 

Ales Bialiatski
  • Sentenced to 4 1/2 years in a high security prison with confiscation of property on November 24, 2011.
  • He was found guilty of tax evasion, despite heavy evidence against it.
  • Bitialiatski is the head of the human rights center Visna and is recognized as a prisoner of conscience.
  • The international community has denounced his arrest, trial and imprisonment.
  • Bialiatski has been restricted from receiving medical parcels.
  • Winner of the 2012 Lech Wałęsa Award, finalist for the 2012 Sakharov Prize.

 

Dzmitry Dashkevich
  • Sentenced to 2 years in prison on March 24, 2011 on charges of hooliganism.
  • Leader of the youth opposition movement Young Front
  • Was sentenced to be transferred to a maximum-security prison on October 30, 2012 due to allegedly breaking prison rules .
  • In August, was sentenced to an additional year in prison due to allegedly disobeying prison rules.
  • His fiancee, Nasta Palazhanka, said the following to RFE/RL:”The goal is to isolate him to the maximum [degree], to make his detention conditions harsher, so that he feels less comfort and faces more restrictions. Even now, he cannot receive visits or parcels because he allegedly violates prison rules, and the situation there will be even tougher.”
  • According to Human Rights Watch, he has been subjected to severe psychological pressure in prison.  He is regularly humiliated, verbally abused, arbitrarily punished and threatened with torture, rape and death.
  • Amnesty International has declared that Dashkevich is a prisoner of conscience.

 

Mikalai Statkevich
  • Sentenced to 6 years in a medium security prison on May 26, 2011.
  • Was a presidential candidate in the 2010 election.
  • Arrested after participating in a protest rally against the results of the presidential election on December 19, 2010.
  • On January 12, 2012, was moved from prison No. 17 in Shklou to prison No. 4 in Mahilou, to face stricter confinement.
  • He is often placed in a punishment cell and harassed.
  • Only allowed one medical parcel every four months, which his wife said “violates common medical and hygienic requirements.”
  • Receives empty envelopes stamped “this letter did not pass the censorship.”
  • His wife stated that he has not received any newspapers or books sent to him, and that the authorities want him to believe that everyone has forgotten about him.

 

Based on reports by Human Rights WatchCharter 97, RF/ERL and FIDH 
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