Group unveils report on rights abuses in prisons
A human rights group called Platforma on Monday unveiled a report on rights abuses in detention centers and correctional institutions in Belarus.
While presenting the report, Platforma leader Andrey Bandarenka said that the number of reported violations of inmates' rights in Belarusian prisons was increasing.
He referred to last year's brutal manhandling by guards of prisoners in correctional facilities in Ivatsevichy and Hlybokaye, which landed the prisoners in civilian hospitals. According to him, prosecutor's offices denied that any such beatings had taken place. "However, convicts who were released from the prisons confirmed the beatings and said that they had spoken about them to officers investigating the reports," Mr. Bandarenka said.
Belarusian pretrial detention centers are overcrowded, while in correctional facilities inmates are subjected to mistreatment, pressure from the administration and various forms of illegal punishment, he said.
Former lawyer Pavel Sapelka said that a similar report had been drawn up by a human rights group called Vyasna in cooperation with the International Federation for Human Rights in 2009. "We see that the situation regarding prisoners' rights has not changed since. Violations of rights continue," he said.
Mr. Bandarenka said that Platforma would monitor rights abuses in Belarusian prisons on a regular basis.
He said that the report would be sent to international human rights organizations and embassies in Minsk.