Brest activist Andrey Sharenda appeals to everyone who can ‘shape the situation’. For nearly a month, he has not received any news from his wife, political prisoner Palina Sharenda-Panasyuk.
According to him, she is out of reach.
“On August 12, Palina’s mother received a letter from the Homiel women’s penal colony with the help of which the prison authorities informed the family of Palina’s arrival on August 8. The letter contained information on how many food parcels and visits the prisoner is allowed to have. But there has been not a single letter from her, she has not yet written an application so that a defence lawyer could see her,” Andrey Sharenda says.
As there is neither letter nor application, the family has information about Palina’s current situation. They do not know the reason why she did not turn to a lawyer or whether she gets letters and parcels.
On June 9, Maskouski district court passed a verdict in the case of Palina Sharenda-Panasyuk. The woman was arrested in her own apartment five months ago. She was charged under three articles of the Criminal Code: Art. 368 (‘insulting president’), Art. 369 (‘insulting a representative of the authorities’) and Art. 364 (‘violence or threat of violence against a police officer’).
On January 3, the police knocked down the door, raided Sharendas’ place and seized a number of things. At that moment, Andrey was serving a term for participating in a protest rally in November; Palina was detained and taken to the remand prison in handcuffs.
In late February, Palina Sharenda-Panasyuk was taken to the so-called Navinki from the local detention facility on February, 23. According to her husband, she was forced to undergo a forensic psychiatric examination at the Republican Scientific and Practical Centre for Mental Health in Navinki residential area in Minsk.
In March, she managed to pass a letter from pre-trial detention centre Nr 7, in which she wrote about prisoners’ putting to torture.
In turn, Andrey Sharenda is accused of slander of the president of Belarus (Article 367 of the Criminal Code). The maximum penalty under this article is five years of imprisonment. He is also charged under Art. 368 (‘calls for actions that harm the national security’). The man was placed under house arrest on May 31; the Belarusian human rights community recognised him as a political prisoner.
On June 28, Andrey Sharenda did not appear before court; he was expected to be tried on that day. On the back of the activist’s absence, judge Vera Filonik put him on the wanted list.
Andrey and Palina are parents to two minor kids (11 and 4 years old).In early July, Andrey Sharenda left the country along with the sons.