Zmitser Kulakouski was detained on May 20 at home in Minsk and sent to serve 15 days in jail the next day for alleged disobedience. The man has serious health problems, and his diabetes is progressing. To get attention and get help, he swallowed a spoon. Close friends of the Kulakovskis family told Belsat that neither his wife nor lawyer knew his current condition. Zmitser’s wife, Yuliya, was also advised not to talk to the independent media.
Zmitser Kulakouski has type 2 diabetes, he used to take pills, but now he needs insulin injections. On 21 May, Yuliya Kulakouskaya received a phone call from the TDF on Akrestsin Street and was asked to bring medicines for her husband.
On May 22, she was unexpectedly allowed to meet with him. The meeting lasted about 10 minutes. Zmitser looked very tired and unwell. He said that he had been put in a punishment cell with homeless people and alcoholics for unknown reasons. He was refused bedlinen, and it was impossible to sleep because the floor was concrete and the bunks were occupied.
After the previous incarceration, Zmitser’s diabetes also got worse. His kidneys hurt, his feet are very swollen, and his ulcers are multiplying. If they are not healed, he is at risk of amputation. To bring his condition to the attention of doctors, he swallowed a spoon.
“Whether he swallowed part of the spoon or all of it, and when exactly, we don’t know. At the meeting with his wife, he didn’t say whether his stomach hurt, but it’s not a small object.”
After the meeting in the TDF, Yuliya called 102 and 103, asking for help for her husband. Later, the woman received a call back from Maskouski District Police Department and was told that there was no reason to worry, he allegedly had doctors examine him, and he had not swallowed any spoon.
Later Zmitser Kulakouski’s lawyer tried to meet with him, but she wasn’t allowed in. The reasons were not given. Yuliya complained against the conditions of her husband’s detention and the non-admission of her lawyer.
Zmitser’s arrest came as a surprise for the family. Yuliya links the detention to the active statements of her husband. Kulakouski and another former policeman, Yahor Yemelianau, were detained the day after the program “Honestly Speaking,” in which they took part, was aired.
Zmitser Kulakouski had worked in the police force since 2006; he headed the criminal investigation office in the Zavodski police department of Minsk. He has professional awards and commendations from the leadership. After the election of 2020 and August 9, he stated that he disagreed with the authorities’ actions and resigned. Last October, in protest against the terrible conditions in the punishment cell, where he was held for almost a month, he swallowed four metal objects.
After his second stint in jail, he tried to leave Belarus but was detained at the border and prosecuted for allegedly insulting a police officer. On January 22 this year, Zmitser Kulakouski was sentenced to two years of freedom restriction with referral to a correctional facility and released pending appeal.