Soldier's mother taken to mental hospital for protesting

2009 2009-10-12T22:27:32+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

According to the European Radio for Belarus, on 1 October the student Artur Achapouski was evicted from Hrodna University for having missed a month of studies. Meanwhile, the guy who entered the university in summer and received state-subsidized education is serving in the army. He became a soldier a few days before the admission commission enrolled him at the university.

Maryia Achapouskaya, Artur’s mother, demands a determent for her son. She ventured upon a decisive move: staged a picket with a poster. She also applied to the local authorities for permission. An answer signed by a deputy chairman of the city executive committee Aliaksandr Siutsou was received by her.

‘They wrote: we draw your attention to the fact that the law of Belarus on mass events stipulated a different order of their organizing. Violation of this order is punished by a fine,” Maryia Achapouskaya reads the answer. ‘I do not know whether it is a ban or something else’.

On an orange poster the mother has written: ‘SOS!; When she appeared on the square, people in plainclothes were waiting for her. The woman managed to stand with her poster for 8 minutes only.

‘I was taken to the police department, a report was drawn up against me, a warning was formalized, and psychiatrists called in. They wanted to take me in a mental hospital. But the doctors looked at me, I explained everything to them and said I had all the documents with me, and they said angrily: we do not see any problems with her.’

Before her street protest, Maryia Achapouskaya addressed different institutions ranging from the Defense Ministry to the Prosecutor General’s office. She was told everywhere that the recruitment of her son was legal. And the reason for that is given. Last autumn the guy was invited to the military enlistment office. He was offered to study in the school of Voluntary Association for Assistance to Army, Air Force and Navy for preparation of army drivers. Artrur agreed, and now he has a driving license. It is considered that he got a profession at the expense of the Defense Ministry, and now is obliged to go to the army. It is true that he hadn’t paid attention to the consequences of such a move. Everyone who studies at such courses promises not to enter a university before finishing the military service.

However, his mother claims he had been drafted with violations of the law. The guy was called in to the military enlistment office when he had a fever and was on a home leave. He was told to leave his job and come with his things.

‘I addressed the Defense Ministry, the Prosecutor’s office. He was on a sick list on 20-23 September when he worked as a loader. He received it on 21 September, called to the military enlistment office and said that he could not come as he was ill. They didn’t believe him, said he was evading army. Then he came and showed them his sick list. They said, well we are going to treat you in the army. They told him to quit his job, though he was ill. I told him to hold on. And he answered: do not worry, mom, and do not interfere, as they may put you behind the bars,’ Maryia said.

At the moment Artur is a soldier in railway troops in Slutsk. Journalists of the European Radio got the military unit on the phone. There were rumors that guards were made to follow the young man, for him not to escape to studies.

‘There are no guards near him and have never been’, representatives of the military unit said. ‘He is a good soldier, and there are no problems with him. He sticks to the order of the day conscientiously’.

Theoretically, after Artur’s service he could be reinstated in the university. However, it is possible only if free budgetary places would be left. Someone would be evicted, for instance for academic failure. So there are no guaranteed for Artur that we would become a student after the army.