Prisoners of Babruisk penal colony slit wrists

2008 2008-07-21T17:20:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Prisoners told they suffered from unbearable pressure of the colony administration, so they decided on a mass suicide.

Prisoners phoned to editorial offices of independent Belarusian media – RFE/RL and “Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi”. A man phoned to “KP v Belarusi” and introduced himself as a prisoner of the 2-nd Babruisk penal colony. He said the pressure of the administration of the colony is unbearable and that is why a mass suicide of prisoners is scheduled for 3.00 pm on 18 July. “Come here! We won’t allow doctors to us, we’ll bleed...” he said.

But “KP v Belarusi” learnt from the penal department there is “nothing special” in the colony.

– There is a normal situation there. A commander gathered prison officers, they didn’t know anything about the situation. If anyone cuts wrists, we’ll sew them up. Yes, we have a problem, some prisoners still have cell phones. Maybe, someone wants to break the peace, wants to apply pressure on the administration of the colony. A normal chief has been appointed there, there are some positive changes in strengthening of order,” the penal department said.

There was another telephone call to editorial office that evening. A man told some prisoners had slashed their wrists.

– It’s true, six men scratched themselves, – first deputy chief of the penal colony Yury Barynkau said. – They are 20-23 years old. Local medical workers rendered aid to them. Their lives and health are not in danger. One of them is punished – he is put in punishment isolation cell, the others got other punishments. It’s not an only case. Some more people in other penal facilities have cut their wrists over the last day. It is a part of prison subculture, like tats. Prisoners of older age don’t do it.

The colony chief won’t be punished.

It is known that the prisoners, who slashed wrists, serve punishments for heavy and especially grave crimes. An issue on transferring them to a prison will soon be considered, as malicious disturbers of inner discipline. A criminal case of defiance to lawful requirements of administration of the correctional facility was instigated against one of the prisoners.

Former political prisoner Valer Levaneuski, creator of Zona internet project, who had served punishment for “insulting of president”, commented on the situation:

– Wrist slitting is a popular action. Besides aversion to food, it is the only protest form against mockery, the only way to defend. There were some cases when I was in the colony. They are hushed up in most cases, even emergency ambulance is not called. Local medical workers render help. The people, who slashed wrists, are then punished.

It should be reminded that political prisoner Andrei Kim, sentenced to 1.5 years of imprisonment for participation in a protest action of entrepreneurs, is in the Babruisk penal colony.