Convicted activists complain of torture in detention center

Hygienic producsts and warm clothes are taken away from them, and the floor is constantly watered with chlorine.

They even take away the toothbrush

Political activists sentenced to short terms in temporary detention facility are tortured. For example, warm clothes and even a toothbrush were taken from Pavel Sevyarynets. The politician was also sentenced to another 30 days of arrest, his wife Volha reports.

Volha Sevyarynets

The situation is complicated by the fact that relatives and close friends are now unable to send things because of the epidemic. Now Volha is trying to get a lawyer to see Pavel and give her husband warm clothes and medicine. However, there’s not much hope that this will work out.

“If it’s a top-down mission to harass these people, I don’t even know what could happen. Apparently, they’re afraid of those who will defeat the regime, probably afraid now of any person who disagrees with them,” Volha explains.

Bullying, blackmail, lawlessness.

Her words are confirmed by other activists who served their sentences at the Akrestsina detention facility. According to Maryna Adamovich, wife of Mikalai Statkevich who is serving his sentence now. A young activist Maksim Urbanovich contacted her and complained about the bullying at the TDC.

“Bullying, blackmail, lawlessness. In addition, mattresses are taken away from the prisoners for the day, lying down is forbidden, and a bucket of chlorine is poured daily on the cell floor, which is also poured on personal belongings. At the same time, the rest of the convicts, not political ones, are constantly told to “thank the political activists, it’s because of them,” said Maryna Adamovich on Facebook.

Role of political context

According to the chairman of the human rights organization Legal Initiative Viktoryia Fyodarava, such bullying is directly related to the fact that many people are now under administrative arrest, convicted for political reasons. The human rights defender notes that there has long been no pressure of this magnitude.

Viktoryia Fyodarava, chair of the Legal Initiative.
Photo: archive

Viktoryia notes that such actions violate not only international standards, but also domestic Belarusian legislation.

“The Code of Procedure and Enforcement clearly states that the people must be kept without risk to their life and health. And now convicts cannot get warm clothes, medicine, normal food and drink. What is happening now is an inhumane attitude, which can be called torture”.

At the moment, convicts can’t complain about the conditions: paper and writing materials are taken away from them right away. The only thing they can do is inform people outside. Viktoryia Fyodarava says that Legal Initiative will send a complaint to the prosecutor’s office, Interior Ministry and Special Rapporteur on torture and human rights in Belarus.

“This is a blatant violation related to the political context,” says the human rights activist.

Earlier this year, activists, serving administrative arrest in Minsk isolation center, complained about the conditions. Some even came back from the TDC sick.