Mikalai Autukhovich, sentenced to 5 years and 2 months


In May, 2010 the Supreme Court of Belarus sentenced the former businessman from Vaukavysk 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 of five 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.

Later the punitive measure for Autukhovich was replaced by a tougher one: he was moved from the penal colony to a prison where conditions of confinement are much more severe. Autukhovich was found guilty of persistent violations of custodial control rules. Such verdict was attained in the session of court which took place in the colony of Ivatsevichi on January 17, 2012. While serving his term in the penal colony Mikalai Autukhovich has been subjected to disciplinary action more than ten times. In December, 2011 he attempted suicide straight after being thrown into a ward with a prisoner of low status (so called downcast). Under unofficial prison rules, a prisoner is considered a downcast if he stays in a ward with another downcast.

«I protest because I take life just the way it is. The authorities are eager to show it distorted. I want then to know that not anyone gives up after being treated unlawfully. Making an animal of man is not in their power. I do not sell out. I was, I am and I will be a human being. I do not leave the evil unnoticed and I will not hold my tongue,» the political prisoner reacted on the replacement of his punitive measure.

For the first time the businessman was convicted and sentenced for alleged tax evasion in 2006. As a result of a long-term hunger strike Autukhovich was re-sentenced to supervised release.

Mikalai Autukhovich was arrested on February 8, 2009 and sentenced to 5 years and 2 months of imprisonment. At the current he is kept in prison №1 in Horadnia.

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