Suicide attempts in protest against difficult conditions in prison camp

Prisoners held in a Hlybock prison camp, in Vitebsk area, in a desperate act of protest and calling for help, cut their veins – informed today Yuri Linkho, a former prisoner in Hlybock, during a press conference organized by “Platform”, a Belarusian news organization.

Linko talked about lack of rules in the prison camp. In June, prisoners went on a hunger strike to protest the conditions of their detention. They also demanded a meeting with the Prosecutor General. In response, they were beaten in a brutal manner by the prison guards. Despite serious injuries, they received no medical attention. After that, some of the prisoners attempted suicide.

Among those who cut their veins, was 18-year-old Illia Kavernikav. His mother testified that prisoners were beaten on July 12th. – They hand-cuffed him and than started kicking. In a critical condition, he was put into a solitary confinement cell. – said Kavernikav’s mother. When she visited him on July 29th, he still had marks of the beating and the scar after cutting his veins.

Illia Kavernikav was convicted of driving under influence when he was 17 years old. – Yes, my son is guilty, he is responsible for his crime. But that’s not a reason to kill him – said Sviatlana Pakunova. In her opinion, Illia is now intimidated, but he has asked her before to draw public attention to the conditions in prison camps.

Halina Siarkheiyeva – mother of another prisoner who was beaten, took part in the press conference. She learned about her son’s condition through a phone call from a former prisoner. He said he had never seen before such brutal beating. Siarkhieyeva asked for a permission to visit her son, but the request was denied. A complaint sent to the prosecutor general also did not bring any results.

Andrei Bandarenka, the director of „Platform”, thinks that such treatment of prisoners is more of a rule rather than exception. – We do not have a correctional system, but a system that scars people, destroys their health, and can even kill them.” – said Bandarenka


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