Mikola Statkievich: I Am Controlled All the Time
On Friday, 30 September, members of HRC Viasna visited the political prisoner Mikalai Statkievich who spends his term of personal restraint in the open penitentiary institution in Baranavichy. During the visit Aliaksandr Bialiatski, chair of HRC Viasna, passed to him books and oscillograph that is necessary for repair of TV sets (Mr. Statkievich repairs TV-sets, vacuum cleaners, etc.).
-- Mikola, have you ever had to do such work?
-- Yes, a long time ago, when I served in the army. I soldered our home TV set on my own, without calling any specialists. However, such work is not as interesting for me now as it used to be. At present I am to work as an analytic and write materials. People passed to me an old laptop. Sometimes it doesn’t work probably, but…
Recently the chair of Brest regional committee on execution of punishments has come to me. He wanted to catch me unawares -- didn’t phone on the domestic phone, didn’t wait for me to come out of the porch. He was very surprised that I was not drunk. Those who are to control my stay here didn’t notice him. He reported about it and my father and I had to send petitions in their defense, stating they really came and controlled me. It looks comic.
These people complain to me, they say I take half of their working time. They searched for different ways to transfer me somewhere else, but haven’t found anything yet.
Mikola Statkievich tried to get employed as a newspaper courier (the way Viktar Ivashkievich, vice-chair of Belarusian People’s Front used to work in Baranavichy before Statkievich). He had even preliminary agreement about it. However, the commandment of the penitentiary institution found one more rule for a political prisoner – he is to work only in a state enterprise or institution.
-- If they took me to a plant, I would write about everything that would happen there. The world would find out about the “blossoming Belarusian economy” on the example of this plant.
The regime for Mr. Statkievich is specific – he is to come to the penitentiary institution by 7 p.m. whereas all other prisoners – by 9.30 p.m. It was hard for him to get the permission for two hours of dinner break:
I get out of the jail in the afternoon and do some physical exercises. Then I come to my father, who lives on the way to the workshop. I change the clothes, because after the jail it smells specific. I walk on foot. I usually jog, but there isn’t enough time for running several kilometers. The road takes about two hours per day.
-- Whom do you share your cell with?
-- At present everything is alright. I have three neighbors. Before that, there were seven. At first I was taken to the worst cell, near the lavatory. Everything was broken and dirty there. My bed stood in the middle and was dirty and shaky. The smoking room added constant smog. The lavatory was like a lavatory at a district railway station during the soviet times, with the appropriate smells. Seemingly, by taking me there the prison administration wanted to teach me life. Some of my neighbors were sentenced to personal restraint for robberies, hooliganism and non-payment of alimonies. Some of the guys sometimes fell very emotional, especially when they were drunk. However, I quickly solved these problems. I didn’t like that room and place at all. I don’t smoke, that’s why it was impossible to sleep there.
What could I do? I began to describe all these circumstances in the interview. The administration held for ten days. Then major came to “make peace”:
-- Please, don’t tell such things about us any more. I’ve been even summoned to Brest… We’ll give you another room with less people.
At present I have three neighbors, all of them are from Baranavichy.
Earlier, there were two open penitentiary institutions in Baranavichy. One of them had stricter regime than the other. The latter one was closed and all the prisoners were transferred to the stricter one. The regime remains severe. The conditions are very hard. I am controlled all the time. However, I don’t know what they want to find.
Mikola Statkievich arrived to Baranavichy on 29 July 2005 to spend his term of personal restraint for organization of “mass riot” on 18 and 19 October 2004, after the Parliamentary election. Minsk Tsentralny Borough Court sentenced, him to two years of personal restraint, taking into consideration the amnesty.