Ten minutes for sentence: Young Front leader to continue serving term in closed prison
The decision has been taken by Mazyr court at the visiting session in penal colony No. 2 where Zmitser Dashkevich has been kept till today.
It is still unknown which prison the activist will be moved to. According to his fiancee Nasta Palazhanka, it is the prisons of Hrodna or Zhodzina where Dashkevich will have stayed till his release in August 2013. The conditions of confinement in closed prisons are generally much more severe, Palazhanka said.
It took only ten minutes to deliver a verdict to Dashkevich. His defence lawyer did not attend the session: Dashkevich did not expect him to affect the outcome of the case anyhow.
Dashkevich’s transfer to a closed prison speaks for raising pressure on the Young frong leader on the part of the authorities. Moreover, such measure has shut him in from the outside world yet more, Nasta stressed.
Ms Palazhanka does not know how long the transit will last. Being eager to obtain any information about Dashkevich she is going to get in touch with administrations of Hrodna and Zhodzina prisons.
Zmitser Dashkevich and another activist of the Young Front Eduard Lobau were detained on December 18, 2010. Opposition activists and human rights defenders consider this detention as part of police preventive action performed before the 2010 presidential election. Dashkevich and Lobau were adjudged guilty of especially malignant hooliganism (Article 339, part 3 of the Criminal Code). On March 24, 2011 Zmitser Dashkevich was sentenced to two years of imprisonment in a general regime penal colony. In September, 2011 the activist was offered to file a petition for pardon addressed to Alexander Lukashenka but he rejected this proposal.
On September 19 Dashkevich was taken to Mazyr penal colony; two days later he went on hunger strike because of “outrageous behaviour of the penal colony administration, including penal colony warden Yury Zbarouski”. According to information presented by human rights organisation Platform, Dashkevich was repeatedly called on the carpet and abused: the colony officers threatened him with rape, murder or dementing. Later the political prisoner’s quit hunger striking because the penal colony administration started treating him a little better. In his opinion, the attitude has changed due to numerous voices raised for his defence, i.e. statements and adresses of human rights defenders, politicians, international community, all indifferent people, and also owing to heavy press coverage.