Imprisoned activist Volha Harbunova ends hunger strike

Political prisoner Volha Harbunova has stopped the hunger strike which she embarked on almost two weeks ago.

Volha is ending her hunger strike. She has got a mattress and the opportunity to sleep at night. We have managed to hand over medicines and essentials to her as well as send a parcel. Volha says thanks to all those who support her and conveys greetings,” her friend Volha Laneuskaya said on Facebook.

The reputed Belarusian activist Volha Harbunova started hungerstriking since her being detained on November 9. Last week, her friends learned from a defence lawyer that since the very first day in the notorious Akrestsin detention centre Volha had not eaten anything, she was only drinking water. Then the prison authorities refused to accept any other things except for medicines from Volha’s family, even warm clothes. It was cold in the cell, there were no mattresses, blankets, hygiene products. The detainee had only one warm jacket there.

Then Volha was transferred to remand prison Nr 1 on Valadarski Street in Minsk.

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Volha Harbunova is suspected of staging women’s marches in the year of 2020; she was taken into custody on November 9. The woman is accused of ‘organising and preparing actions that grossly violate public order’ (Article 342 of the Criminal Code). According to the Interior Ministry, it was Harbunova who led the so-called women’s marches in the Belarusian capital city last year; she ‘stepped onto the roadway and blocked the traffic’.

Volha Harbunova has been engaged in providing assistance to victims of domestic violence for more than 18 years. She is the former head of the non-government organisation Radzislava which was established in 2002 in Minsk; their major goals are supporting women and children who have faced abuse; training specialists from various agencies and NGOs who work with victims, their relatives, or abusers; conducting preventive talks with young people about the inadmissibility of violence and so on.

In mid November, the Belarusian human rights community recognised Volha Harbunova as a political prisoner.

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