Amnesty International declares Belarusian citizen Ihar Koktysh prisoner of conscience
The human rights organization <i>Amnesty International </i> considers Ihar Koktysh, who is kept in a detention center in Simferopol waiting for the extradition to Belarus, to be a prisoner of conscience.
30-year old Ihar Koktysh is accused by Belarusian prosecutors of committing an intentional murder. He has been in a detention center in Ukraine since 25 June 2007, waiting for the extradition, RFE/RL reports.
Amnesty International called on the Ukraine authorities not to return Ihar Koktysh to Belarus.
A criminal case against the musician from Baranavichy and founder of the humanitarian organization named after Jan Bosk was instigated in January 2001. He was accused of murder of his friend’s relative. The leader of Mlechny Put (Milky Way) music band spent ten months in a detention facility in Baranavichy.
He said he had been tortured, beaten, locked naked in a freezing cell, and deprived of necessary medication for his asthma. The district court of Brest found him innocent on 7 December 2001. The witnesses said Ihar Koktysh had been in another town when the murder had been committed. However, the prosecutor’s office appealed against the verdict and the case was returned to Brest city court for a retrial.
Ihar Koktysh was in the Ukraine and chose not to return to Belarus. He was detained by the police in the Ukraine. On 25 April 2007, he was thrown in a detention facility in Simferopol until his extradition to Belarus.
In October 2007 the European Court of Human Rights called on the government of Ukraine to not extradite the detainee to Belarus; and Amnesty International urged the Ukrainian authorities not to allow extradition.
Aliaksandr Milinkevich addressed the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees asking to help Ihar Koktysh to get a status of a political refugee in Ukraine.