Political prisoner Mikalai Dzyadok gets 5 years in jail. He reported being tortured by police

On November 10, Minsk City Court passed a verdict in the case of Mikalai Dzyadok, a 33-year-old blogger and activist of the anarchist movement, who has been behind bars for about a year, the human rights centre Viasna reports.

The hearing of his case started in late June. During one of the court sessions, Dzyadok revealed the brutal details of his being arrested – he was battered, teargassed, threatened with rape. On July 6, a psycholinguistic examination was ordered; it lasted for almost four months. The Belarusian human rights community recognised him as a political prisoner.

Today Mikalai Dzyadok has been found guilty of ‘organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order (Article 342 of the Criminal Code) and ‘illegal actions with combustible substances (Art. 295-3). When detaining Dzyadok, security officers searched his place and found glass bottles containing fuels, which fall under the article of the Criminal Code, the investigators said. Moreover, according to the Belarusian authorities, he also committed ‘actions aimed at harming the national security of Belarus’ (Art. 361-3) on his Telegram channel Mikola which Dzyadok had been administering for several years.

Judge Anastasiya Papok has taken heed of public prosecutor Anton Tsyumentsau’s demand and sentenced Mikalai Dzyadok to five years of imprisonment in of imprisonment in a minimum-security penal colony. The defendant did not plead guilty.

Pillow-stifling, tear gas, threats of rape: Mikalai Dzyadok gives statement about torture by police

Mikalai Dzyadok was detained on 12 November 2020 in the town of Sasnovy, Asipovichy district. In the video published by Belarusian law enforcement agencies, Mikalai Dzyadok looked badly beaten. On the back of the arrest, Mediazona interviewed a man who had a conversation with Dzyadok in the detention centre in Akrestsin Street in Minsk. According to the interviewee, the officers who were detaining Dzyadok tear-gassed the man, threatened with rape, stifled him with pillow, trying to beat the passwords to the system and Telegram channel out of him. The complaint of the activist’s father about torture during detention was not satisfied; the Investigative Committee refused to conduct a probe.

In 2010, Dzyadok was arrested in the case of an ‘attack on the Russian Embassy’ on the night of August 31 in Minsk. In 2011, he was sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment in a high security colony. Then he was also declared a prisoner of conscience. Five days before the expiration of the term on February 26, 2015, a Mahiliou court sentenced the activist under Article 411 of the Criminal Code which is ‘willful disobedience to the demands of the administration’ to 1 year of imprisonment in a strict regime colony. He was pardoned on August 22, 2015.

Subsequently, he was repeatedly detained under administrative charges.

Arrested activist Dzyadok tear-gassed, threatened with rape, stifled with pillow