Political prisoner Natallia Hersche placed in punishment cell

Natallia Hersche in court. Photo: Belsat

Belarusian political prisoner Natallia Hershe, who is also a Swiss citizen, was placed in punitive confinement for эviolation of the established order of serving a sentence’, her brother Henadz Kasyan told RFE/RL.

At first, the woman was being kept in a disciplinary cell for two weeks, from 6 to 23 May.

“Moreover, on May 24 she was put in the isolation ward again, so she is not able to send letters and make phone calls,” the brother said.

According to him, the prison authorities also apply such punitive measure as confiscation: they seized part of Natallia’s letters and the newspaper Novy Chas as they said the paper ‘contained information promoting national hatred, violence, cruelty’. The letters were destroyed because the jailers considered them to be ‘cynical’ and, in accordance with the internal rules, such letters are not handed over to prisoners.

Henadz Kasyan is going to file a complaint to the Department of Corrections and the Prosecutor’s Office. He believes that his sister’s rights in prison are being violated:

“It is obvious that psychological and physical pressure is being exerted on Natallia in order to frighten her into compliance.”

On December 7, Natallia Hersche was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for removing a balaclava from a riot police officer during a protest rally on September, 19. Natallia had been living in Switzerland for many years, but in 2020 she could not remain indifferent to the events at home and flew to Minsk. At one of the women’s marches, she was detained and sentenced to 15 days in jail. Then a criminal case for resisting a police officer with the use of violence was opened.

When being behind bars, Natallia repeatedly started hungerstriking when the prison authorities made attempts to trample over her rights.

Belarus-born Swiss national gets 2.5 years in jail for tearing balaclava off policeman