Ex-political prisoner kept away from medical care in Minsk


Mikalai Autukhovich intended to enter a private Minsk-based hospital for a checkup and treatment, but was denied going out of his city of residence.

Being under police supervision Mr Autukhovich is forbidden to leave Vaukavysk (Hrodna region) and stay out from 22:00 to 6:00.

In the wake of nine years in prison his health is ruined: teeth are broken, the blood work is far from normal. But what is the worst thing that his arm is going numb. Mr Autukhovich consulted doctors in Hrodna and Vaukavysk, but they failed to tell the cause of it. Moreover, before teeth setup the ex-political prisoner should submit to a blood glucose test.

Firstly Mr Autukhovich was about to go to a hospital in Vilnius, but the police demanded he proved that there were no proper equipment and specialists in Belarus. Mr Autukhovich opted for a private clinic in Minsk, and up to this day he has been sure he is allowed to head for the capital.

Although he brought all the necessary documents to the police officers, they turned their backs on him. Mr Autukhovich is set to seek their permission again.

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In 1981 Mikalai Autukhovich started serving in the army in Russia. After finishing a school of warrant officers he volunteered to serve in Afghanistan. He was awarded with an order and two medals for guarding the bridge nearKandahar and participation in other military operations. In 1991 he left the army and started running his own business in the town of Vaukavysk, Hrodna region.

When his business (taxi service) started boosting Vaukavysk officials dropped some strong hints that under-the-table payments were expected from Mr Autuhovich. But instead of bribing officials, the businessman began to collect information on the town’s web corruption. There is every likelihood that the head of Hrodna State Security Department (KGB) got into the act as well; it is Mr Autukhovich’s anti-corruption activity that was the main reason of putting him behind bars. Prison turned out to be a way of neutralizing the man of principle.

On February 8, 2009 Mr Autukhovich was arrested again; in May, 2010 the Supreme Court of Belarus sentenced the former entrepreneur to five years and two months of imprisonment in a medium security penal colony under the Criminal Code’s Article 295, which penalizes the illegal handling of arms, ammunition and explosives, because offive hunting rifle cartridges found in his safe. Human rights defenders note that the sentence might well have been awarded in retaliation for Mikalai Autukhovich’s fighting against public corruption in the region.

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