Russian Citizen on Hunger-strike in Minsk Prison
On 24 August the citizen of Russia Nikolai Kostishev imprisoned in jail #1 went on hunger-strike. The organizing committee for creation of the Belarusian committee for protection of prisoners’ rights Over the Barrier was informed about it by one of the prisoner’s relatives.
In his interview to the BelaPAN a coordinator of the organizing committee Zmitser Kaspiarovich reported that N.Kostishev ‘had nothing to do but to go on strike because for already two years all his appeals for acquittal have failed despite of numerous violations of the Belarusian legislation committed in the process of investigation and trial’.
In July 2006 Nikolai Kostishev was sentenced to 12 years in prison with his property confiscation in compliance with articles 207(robbery), 286 (banditry), 378 (stealing of personal identification document) and 380(forgery, counterfeiting, using or selling counterfeited documents) of the Criminal Code of Belarus. The sentence was handed down in the absence of the defendant.
In his appeal Nikolai Kostishev mentions that the sentence has been based on the ‘untrue and false testimony of the repeatedly convicted citizen V.S.Kazlou who after being convicted slandered me thus forcing me to pay him’.
According to him, the Belarusian justice may easily convict anyone at its own wish. Even in the absence of the defendants on the bases of intermediate, ambiguous and false testimony of people whose only aim is to make money or to get leniency for the committed crimes.
By his decision to go on hunger strike Nikolai Kostishev strives to call the public, human rights organizations, the governments of Russia and Belarus, politicians to defend his rights as well as the rights of other unlawfully convicted people.