Autukhovich stopped 3-month hunger strike – he is in critical condition

2009 2009-07-16T18:20:50+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The longest hunger strike ever held by Belarusian political prisoners was stopped on July 16, the Day of Belarusian Solidarity.

Website learnt this information today morning from political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich’s lawyer Pavel Sapelka, who visited his client in detention facility #1 in Minsk. The hunger strike lasted for three months, since April 16. The prisoner has lost 35 kilograms for this period.

According to the lawyer, Autukhovich’s health condition is “critical”. “He has already reached the state when every movement is difficult and causes weakness,” Sapelka told.

Autukhovich stops hunger strike at request of the lawyer. “I need Autukhovich as a defence party at a trial,” the lawyer said. “It’s time to get acquainted with the case and work out a position in defence. Autukhovich on hunger strike won’t be able to do this.”

According to Sapelka, Autukhovich asked to thank all who had supported him, written letters to him and made complaint in his defence.

Mikalai Autukhovich and two activists of the entrepreneurs’ movement from Vaukavysk Yury Lyavonau and Uladzimir Asipenka were detained on February 8 with the approval of the prosecutor of the Hrodna region. On February 18, the three were charged under article 218 of the Criminal Code (intentional damage to or destruction of property of citizens).

Human rights activists consider the detained to be political prisoners drawing attention to the fact that Autukhovich and Lyavonau were convicted before and found prisoners of conscience by the international community.

The term of detention of Mikalai Autukhovich is extended till August 8. Lyudmila Paremskaya, director of the firm Nika-Trans-22222 where the entrepreneur had worked before the arrest, and Afghan War veteran Kanstantsin Ulanau were detained by officers of the Main Organized Crime Department last week. Paremskaya was set free some days later, Ulanau remains in custody.

Human rights activists think Lyudmila Paresmkaya and Kanstantsin Ulanau may have been arrested to make them give evidence against Mikalai Autukhovich. No investigative activists have been carried out the Vaukavysk entrepreneurs since their arrest in February 2009. Independent observers think the investigation doesn’t have proofs of guilt of Autukhovich, Lyavonau, and Asipenka.

BelaPAN asked Yury Marakhouski, head of the department of gastroenterology and threpsology of the Belarusian Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education, to tell about consequences of a long hunger strike. Yury Marakhouski says the physiological standard of weight loss is 1.5 kilograms per month. Higher rate of weight loss is dangerous.

It’s important what elements a person on hungry strike takes (Autukhovich was given drips during the hunger strike – BelaPAN). According to the health professional, if the person takes glucose, the body stops to use its own carbohydrates. But a long application of glucose can cause excessive use of the body’s carbohydrates.

Unable to get enough food for a long time, the body begins to use its resources – fat, then proteins from muscular tissue. The muscles mass reduces. The muscles became weak. After a while, the person is not able to move. The next stage may be dystrophic changes in the liver and the kidneys. Proneness to infection increases, persistent wounds appear on the skin. The person can die from even from an infectious disease.