Political prisoner Zmitser Furmanau gets out of jail. He spent 1.5 years behind bars

Zmitser Furmanau, a convict in the so called Tsikhanouski case, has been released from the penal colony Vitsba-3 in Vitsebsk, our correspondent reports.

After release: Dzmitry Furmanau and his parents. Photo: Radio Svaboda

According to Furmanau’s father, his son ‘is feeling well; he was being held in punitive confinement in the colony almost all the time, he was not given letters and parcels’.

Upon his arrival in penal colony Nr 3 in Vitsebsk region, political prisoner Zmitser Furmanau was never sent to his detachment. After being in quarantine, he was immediately put in a disciplinary cell, where he spent about 40 days.

It should be recalled that Furmanau got a two-year jail sentence. However, when the recalculation was made under the new legislation, his term was shortened. As reported earlier, the Law on Amendments to the Codes of Criminal Liability came into force in June, 2021. Among other things, the amendments introduced new rules for counting terms of imprisonment; under them, one day of detention in a pre-trial detention centre is counted as 1.5 days in a minimum or medium security colony (previously, one day in a pre-trial detention centre was equal to one day of being in a penal colony).

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Hrodna resident Dzmitry (Zmitser) Furmanau was detained on 29 May 2020 during a picket to collect signatures for the nomination of Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya as a candidate for presidency; he was a regional coordinator of the team. On the same day Svyatlana’s husband Syarhei Tsikhanouski and his associates were arrested.

Furmanau was charged under Part 1 Article 342 (‘organisation and preparation of actions that grossly violate public order’) of the Criminal Code. He was awaiting the trial in the Hrodna prison, where he was repeatedly placed in solitary confinement. Judge Volha Bekushava sentenced him to two years of imprisonment in a minimum security penal colony.

The Belarusian human rights community recognised Zmitser Furmanau as a political prisoner.

‘He might have been beaten there’. Zmitser Furmanau put in isolation cell, meeting with family cancelled