Political prisoner Zmitser Furmanau to be held in punishment cell for one more week

Zmitser Furmanau in court. Photo: spring96.org

Zmitser Furmanau, who has been behind bars for over a year, is reported to be punished with another week in solitary confinement. He has already spent 26 days there.

On May 31, Kastrychnitski district court of Hrodna is holding another hearing of the so called Tsikhanouski’s case, during which Zmitser, one of the defendants, has said his last plea. The case is being considered by judge Volha Bekushava.

During today’s trial, it has become known that Zmitser allegedly violated the confinement rules again, which resulted in the extension of his being kept in a solitary cell until June 8. Furmanau’s parents, who have been repeatedly deprived of the opportunity to see him, are very concerned about the way the prison authorities treat him; they fear for his life 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.

The previous punishment term is to be over tomorrow. And they have already drawn a new report upon the son for his allegedly wrongly getting up or wrongly greeting an officer when the latter entered the cell. This is nothing but an attempt to find fault,” Alyaksandr Furmanau, the father of the political prisoner, said on Monday.

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

According to Alyaksandr, 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 [on May 25 – Belsat], but he was not released from the isolation cell, he was left there for another seven days. And the reason is unknown,” the father told Belsat last week.

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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