A hearing of another administrative case against former political prisoner Pavel Sevyarynets kicked off in Frunzenski district court of Minsk at 11.00 on Thursday. On June 15, Volha Sevyarynets said on Facebook that her husband had been sentenced to the total of 75 days in prison.
The politician was not taken to court, the case was being considered via Skype conference. At the beginning of the trial, Pavel showed his hand with noticeable cuts.
“I cut my wrist in protest. I have been kept in a disciplinary cell for ten days, and they did not let me to have any things of daily use there!” he explained.
On June 7, unknown individuals who looked like plainclothed policemen detained Sevyarynets, who is also a co-chair of the Belarusian Christian Democracy party.
He was charged with violation of the rules of organising or holding mass events (Art. 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses). The protocol was drawing upon the politician in the wake of his participation in pre-election pickets in Minsk on May, 30 and in Vitsebsk on May, 31. Pavel Sevyarynets keeps pleading not guilty and points out that the pickets were legal: a presidential hopeful does not have to get permission from the authorities for holding such a picket.
“[At the picket to collect signatures for Alyaksandr Lukashenka‘s presidency nomination] there were flags and equipment as well. Why are they [participants] not punished? Why am I doing the term in solitary confinement, without water, without walks, without personal belongings? What is my fault? And they continue to pass more and more sentences on me,” Sevyarynets said.
The defendant made a motion for his release and called the confinement conditions ‘inhumane’. According to him, one is allowed to lay on the bunk only from 10 pm to 6 am; the cell is tiny (2 by 3 metres). It is very cold there, and Pavel has no warm clothing.
“On June 8, I was put in the temporary detention centre. A toothpaste and a brush were grabbed from me. There is no water at all, it is off. [That is why] I had to protest by cutting my veins. I have never experienced such things during serving the terms before,” he stressed.
‘For what reason are you in punitive confinement?” his defense lawyer asked.
“At first, I was told it was an ordinary cell. But I realised [that I was in solitary confinement], as my things were taken away from me; food and clothes parcels [from the family] are not given to me,” he added.
Since 6 May, a total of 1,316 days of administrative arrest was slapped on 98 Belarusians, according to estimations by human rights centre Viasna. 106 persons got fines to the tune of 90,000 Belarusian rubles. The human rights defenders stress that the authorities resort to the articles of the Code of Administrative Offences for political persecution of dissidents.
As reported earlier, convicted activists complained of torture in the detention centre in Minsk: hygienic products and warm clothes are seized, and the floor is constantly watered with chlorine. The situation is complicated by the fact that relatives and close friends are now unable to send things because of the epidemic.