UK citizen goes on hunger strike in Belarus prison

Alan Smith, a Briton of Kurdish origin, is serving a two-year prison sentence in Belarus. As Alan’s wife has not been in contact with him since February, she cannot imagine what could cause his hungerstriking.

In 2017, Alan Paul Smith got a two-year prison term for assisting in organising illegal migration across the Belarus-Poland border. As the man adamantly refuses to admit his guilt, he cannot bargain for parole. He ran a consulting company which helped Iraqis to be legalized in the territory of Belarus. Smith claims that after he bought Brest-Terespol train tickets for Iraqi citizens, he was accused of organising an illegal migration channel.

According to Belarusian human rights activist Pavel Levinau, some people whom Smith helped might have been born false witness against him. Alan Smith claims that the Belarusian authorities drew him into the case not having any proofs.

The man used to describe his everyday life in letters to his wife; he also showed the Belarusian prison reality in pictures. In late May, mad public some self-explanatory fragments:

‘No human rights here’: Belarus penal colony in pictures by British prisoner

Smith, who took an active part in defending the rights of prisoners, was deprived of the possibility of making calls and doing correspondence. His wife, Magdalena Wolińska, learned about the hunger strike from relatives of another prisoner of Vitsba-3 penal colony near the Belarusian city of Vitsebsk. In her opinion, something really serious must have set him on to take such a step because he had only about 3 months to serve According to the woman, Smith might have launched a hunger strike, for example, in protest against sending his friend to the punishment cell.

In her opinion, the case is not related to the hunger strike of Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director convicted in Russia. Smith is isolated from the outside world to the extent that he may not know about it, the wife suggests. The woman turned to the British embassy in Minsk with a request to contact the prisoner as soon as possible. During his stay in the Belarusian prison, he lost 20 kg, and the hunger strike might ruin his health, Magdalena Wolińska stressed.

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