Andrei Bandarenka, head of the Platform association, told Belsat that inhumane treatment of prisoners in Belarus is not an exception but rather a systemic problem. – One could recount whole lot of examples of torment in Belarusian prisons – said Bandarenka, who was imprisoned for two years for a crime he did not commit. Finally, he was released due to a lack of evidence against him.
Andrei Bandarenka is also engaged in an investigation into suicide attempts in Hlybotsk prison camp. Prisoners who could not stand any more prison administration’s abuses, cut their veins. The news came from a former prisoner of Hlybotsk camp – Yuryi Linha. Bandarenka claims that there are no rules in such prisons – I went through it myself. I saw how prisoners were tormented and threatened. There were plenty of such situations. People brought in during winter, would be locked up in a humid cell, where temperature would go down below zero. The prisoners would have to exercise all night long in order not to freeze to death. – recounted Bandarenka. No one would react to prisoners’ complaints.
– I remember very clearly one of the prison camp employees – responsible for ideology, or so called ‘a political officer’. He told me once ‘I would have less paper work with your death than with a dog’s death.’ This kind of attitude is common among the guards. They are proud of the prison regime, and your complaints go nowhere. – said Andrei Bandarenka.
– We have a fairly decent criminal code. But we also need civil society groups to control what is happening in prisons. If that is impossible, the families should be at least allowed to visit prisoners. If the administration of the prison camp is aware that there is someone watching and a complaint can be filed, they will not violate so many of the prisoners’ rights. – said Andrei Bandarenka in an interview with Belsat.