Artsyom Anishchuk tortured in colony, his wife says

Artsyom Anishchuk, the defendant in damaging the car of an employee of the Department of Corrections, has been kept in the penal cell for more than three weeks. His wife told that the prisoner was personally beaten by the head of the colony.

“Artsyom is still being tortured in Penal Colony No. 15. Since June 8, he has been kept in a punishment cell. According to him, inadequate inmates and mentally ill people have been placed with him for six days. He hasn’t slept well for a week,” says his wife Volha.

The humiliation of Artsyom Anishchuk became known at the beginning of June. The detainee told his attorney that he had been constantly tortured since his arrival in the colony in April. In addition, a new criminal case was filed against him under Article 411 (“persistent disobedience of the demands of the administration of the correctional institution”). In protest against the torture, Anishchuk committed an act of self-mutilation: he swallowed a metal object.

Information about the torture was published in the independent media. Soon the General Prosecutor’s Office issued a denial. It was stated that the deputy head of the supervisory department of Mahiliou regional prosecutor’s office visited colony #15. “During a personal conversation with the prosecutor’s officer, Artsyom Anishchuk did not express any complaints about his state of health. When asked about the reasons for swallowing a foreign object, he explained that he just wanted to go to the medical unit,” noted the press release of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Representatives of the prosecutor’s office did come to the colony. Artsyom Anishchuk was placed in the punishment cell. The prisoner told the lawyer that after the visit of people from the prosecutor’s office, he was personally beaten by the colony Alyaksei Lazarenka.

“The head of the colony told Artsyom that he would be in the penal cell until the trial under Article 411,” said Volha. The date of the trial has not yet been set.

On 28 June, during a meeting with his lawyer, Artsyom Anishchuk also told what metal objects he had previously swallowed in protest: a furniture bolt, a nut, a metal hook, and a plate measuring 2 by 1 centimeter. At the same time, he is not actually receiving medical care.

“On June 15, a visited the doctor. The doctor told me that he was getting all the medical care he needed. But that’s a lie. He didn’t receive any medical care other than a fluorography,” says Volha.

In February 2021, 32-year-old subway worker Artsyom Anishchuk was found guilty under Part 2 Article 339 of the Criminal Code (“Malicious hooliganism”) and sentenced to two years in a general regime colony. Artsyom and four other men were detained in September 2020 when they damaged the car used by the policeman. The detainees were severely beaten and gassed, although none of them resisted the arrest.

As it turned out in court, the accused were members of a telegram chat room, where they discussed the political situation in the country and methods of resistance to the law enforcement officers’ illegal actions. In protest against the violence and torture of peaceful protesters, Minsk residents decided to damage a police officer’s car. Only 9 people took part in the discussion and the action itself, but five people were put in the dock, while the rest appeared as “unidentified persons.” The defendants believe they were security officers, who in their company actually played the role of provocateurs and incited to more decisive actions.