Imprisoned activist allegedly spends 247 days in solitary


Yauhen Vaskovich, an imprisoned member of Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD), has spent 247 days in a disciplinary cell since October 2011, the party’s press office reports.

The most recent 10-day term in disciplinary confinement was imposed on the 23-year-old prisoner on December 27, BCD Executive Secretary Dzianis Sadouski said, noting that the young man had spent New Year’s Eve in a disciplinary cell. Penalties are usually imposed on him for ‘refusing to obey lawful orders by prison officers’.

Mr Vaskovich stays in a disciplinary cell for between 15 and 20 days every month and currently weighs 65 kilograms despite being 186 centimeters tall. Not all parcels and letters are delivered to him, and not all letters by Mr Vaskovich reach their intended recipients, Mr Sadouski added.

Belarusian Christian Democracy calls on human rights defenders and international organizations to condemn the persecution of Mr Vaskovich and urges the prison administration to stop subjecting the inmate to torture.

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On May 18, 2011 Babruysk court sentenced activists Yauhen Vaskovich, Pavel Syramolatau and Artsiom Prakapenka to different terms of imprisonment (up to 7 years). Based on articles 218(3) and 339(2) of the Belarusian Criminal Code, the three men were charged with ‘intended acts of vandalism’ and ‘purposeful acts causing major damage’. They were adjudged guilty in arsoning the local building of the KGB. No one was hurt in the incident.

Public prosecutor Toustsik demanded the activists be sentenced to 7.5-8 years of imprisonment in a medium security penal colony. According to her, ‘the attack on the KGB was nothing else but a spit in the eye of society and the demonstration of impunity’. The Belarusian state-owned television pictured the activists as unprincipled persons who are ready to crush everything on their path.

In their turn, the defense lawyers stressed that their defendants had given evidence under compulsion. They stated that the young men had no intention to burn the building aiming only at endamagement. According to the lawyers, Vaskovich, Syramolatau and Prakapenka wanted to respond to secret services’ inequitable acts towards democracy and civil activists.

www.belsat.eu/en, following BelaPAN

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