7 May – anniversary of Yana Paliakova’s death
Yana Paliakova, human rights activist, committed suicide in March 2009. A wide range of cruel and mean methods was used against the young women before it: arrests, tortures, criminal persecution and moral terror.
Yana Paliakova, a lawyer, was an activist of the Legal Assistance to Population organization. She cooperated with other human rights organizations and was a member of the initiative group of Volha Kazulina (the daughter of the well-known oppositional politician) in the parliamentary election in 2008.
Cynically accused of ‘false denunciation’ against a policeman who had beaten her, Paliakova was sentenced to two years of restraint of liberty. Her friends say, Paliakova stated some days before the suicide: ‘The sentence will never take effect’. Yana devoted her life to struggle against injustice and didn’t allow the injustice to happen. The sentence didn’t really take effect.
The young woman committed suicide on 8 March 2009 overnight. The tragedy took place in the flat where Yana lived with her mother. On 6 March 2009, short before the tragedy, Sovetskaya Belorussiya, the propaganda mouthpiece of Lukashenka’s administration, published a satirical article about Belarusian human rights activists, where Yana Paliakova was mentioned among others. According to Yana’s friends, this article was the last drop which made the cup of her patience run over.
On 18 March the procuracy of Salihorsk refused to instigate a criminal case on the fact of driving Paliakova to suicide.
As a human rights activist Aleh Vouchak said, on 6 March human rights activists visited the cemetery where Paliakova is buried.Human rights activists have many times applied for Yana Paliakova’s vindication. ‘In our attempts we reached the chairman of the Minsk oblast court. However, we received formal replies, though lawyers with whom we worked, to my mind have collected satisfactory evidence to make a case of Paliakova’s being driven to a suicide. The suit against Sovetskaya Belorussiya for defense of honor and dignity was dismissed as well. A year has passed, but Paliakova’s mother has not received an order of the procuracy of Salihorsk that the criminal case is dismissed, and it is impossible to take an appeal in a higher procuracy without this document,’ Vouchak said.