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

Zmitser Furmanau

The parents of political prisoner Zmitser Furmanau (he has been behind bars for nearly a year) were to see his son today, but the hopes have not been fulfilled.

They have been told that Zmitser violated the prison rules one more time, which led to another placing him in punitive confinement for 7 days. The prisoner of conscience received a new term in the isolation cell immediately after spending the previous week there. The parents believe their son has not been released so that they would not see his injuries and bruises.

According to Zmitser’s father Alyaksandr Furmanau, his son was previously punished with a week in solitary confinement for… sitting on the bed.

“The report reads that Zmitser was lying on the bed. When he was called in for a conversation, he decided to remain silent in protest. He allegedly angered them with his being tight-lipped. Then another report was drawn upon him. The seven- day term came to its end yesterday, but he was not released from the isolation cell, he was left there for another seven days. And the reason is unknown,” Alyaksandr told Belsat.

Zmitser’s parents were informed of the situation when today’s meeting with their son was cancelled. It is the second meeting that has not taken place due to the prison authorities’ imposing penalties on Zmitser.

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His family keeps worrying about him on the back of the recent death of political prisoner Vitold Ashurak in the penal colony in Shklou. In their opinion, both psychological pressure and violence might be used against Zmitser.

“We are deeply concerned over his being put in solitary confinement for nothing for the first time, and for almost nothing for the second time. We fear that he was just beaten there, and they failed to release him so that no one could see the signs of blows,” Alyaksandr Furmana stressed.

On May 31, Kastrychnitski district court of Hrodna is to hold another hearing of Zmitser’s case, during which he is expected to say his last plea. The case is being considered by judge Volha Bekushava.

Dzmitry (Zmitser) Furmanau, 35, was detained on May, 29 during a picket to collect signatures for the nomination of Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya as a candidate for presidency; he was a regional coordinator. On the same day 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 and recognised as a political prisoner by Belarusian human rights watchdogs.

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