Forbidden mourning: dead arrestee’s pregnant sister comes to trial

At least five people who were arrested on September, 14 for attempting to publicly mourn a young man are to stand trial today. Three of them had to spend the weekend in Minsk predetention centre (‘Akrestsina’), human rights group Platform Innovation reports.

The people were caught by police as they were heading for the detention center in Valadarskaha Street where Ihar Ptsichkin, 21, died a suspicious death in August. The relatives and friends only intended to observe a minute’s silence in tribute to his memory and leave flowers and lit candles outside the jail but police detained the participants and journalists covering the action.

Mr Ptsichkin’s 8-month-pregnant sister, Iryna Miranovich, was also among those arrested. She was charged with a civil offense but was released later that day. The young woman is to appear before court and answer the charge.

Two years ago Mr Ptsichkin was put under five-year driving ban. Nevertheless, he could not resist taking to the wheel; as a result, he was sentenced to three months of arrest. Having admitted his guilt in court, Ihar Ptsichkin came to Zavadzki district Directorate of Interior. Then he was transferred to predetention centre No 1: he was to serve his term there. Four days later prison officials phoned his mother and told her that Ihar was dead.

A jail officer told the family that the arrestee had died of a heart attack, but the relatives are certain that he was beaten to death. In posthumous photographs posted on the website of Platform Innovation, extensive bruises can be clearly seen on Mr. Ptsichkin’s forearms, wrists and ribs and so can wounds under his knee.

Ihar Ptsichkin managed to make a video with his mobile phone at a police station disclosing policemen threatening him with tortures for his attempt to come to the defence of another detainee. What did happen in Minsk predetention centre No 1 where Ihar died? His relatives are still looking for answers. Iryna Miranovich alleges as a fact that her brother was killed by police officers.

Belsat, following BelaPAN

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