Imprisoned young opposition activist Vaskovich placed in solitary cell

Yauhen Vaskovich, an imprisoned member of Belarusian Christian Democracy (BCD) who is viewed as a political prisoner by human rights defenders, has been placed in a solitary cell.

“Yauhen Vaskovich, who has lately been bullied by the administration of Prison No. 4 in Mahiliou with the help of other inmates, has been put into a solitary cell following a campaign in support of him,” the BCD press office reported on Wednesday.

As it became known earlier, the prison administration started exercising pressure on the activist with the use of other prisoners. The BCD leadership connects it attempts to get Yauhen to write a petition for clemency on the eve of the World Hockey Championship.


On May 18, 2011 Babruysk court sentenced activists Yauhen Vaskovich, Pavel Syramolatau and Artsiom Prakapenka to different terms of imprisonment (up to 7 years). Based on articles 218(3) and 339(2) of the Belarusian Criminal Code, the three men were charged with ‘intended acts of vandalism’ and ‘purposeful acts causing major damage’. They were adjudged guilty in arsoning the local building of the KGB. No one was hurt in the incident.

Public prosecutor Toustsik demanded the activists be sentenced to 7.5-8 years of imprisonment in a medium security penal colony. According to her, ‘the attack on the KGB was nothing else but a spit in the eye of society and the demonstration of impunity’. The Belarusian state-owned television pictured the activists as unprincipled persons who are ready to crush everything on their path.

In their turn, the defense lawyers stressed that their defendants had given evidence under compulsion. They stated that the young men had no intention to burn the building aiming only at endamagement. According to the lawyers, Vaskovich, Syramolatau and Prakapenka wanted to respond to secret services’ inequitable acts towards democracy and civil activists.

Yauhen Vaskovich spent 247(!) days in a disciplinary cell since October 2011, the BCD press office reported in mid January, 2014.

See also