Human Rights Center “Viasna” demands to immediately and unconditionally release Zmitser Dashkevich
Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Minsk, July 17, 2012
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” demands to immediately and unconditionally release Zmitser Dashkevich
According to the information received by the Human Rights Center “Viasna”, the administration of penal colony No. 13 in the town of Hlybokaye, where Zmitser Dashkevich is currently serving his sentence, has submitted to the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus the case file to initiate an investigation and possible criminal prosecution under Par. 1 Art. 411 of the Criminal Code (malicious disobedience of the administration of a penal colony). After his sentencing in March 2011, Zmitser Dashkevich has been repeatedly subjected to pressure by the administrations of the penal facilities where he was held. In particular, he was repeatedly placed in a punishment cell. As a result, Zmitser Dashkevich faces up to one year of imprisonment.
Zmitser Dashkevich was arrested on December 18, 2010 and sentenced on March 24, 2011 by the Court of Minsk Maskouski District under Par. 2 Art. 339 of the Criminal Code (malicious hooliganism) to tow years of imprisonment in a general-security penal colony. The Human Rights Center “Viasna” views the sentencing of Zmitser Dashkevich as a politically motivated harassment. The Amnesty International human rights organization has declared Zmitser Dashkevich a prisoner of conscience.
It should be stressed that back in 2006 he was convicted under Art. 193.1 of the Criminal Code (organization of activities of an association, foundation or religious organization, that has not passed state registration, or participation in it) and sentenced to 18 months of imprisonment. While serving the sentence in the penal colony of Shklou, Zmitser Dashkevich faced additional charges under Art. 402 of the Criminal Code (refusal or evasion of a witness to testify) and was sentenced to a fine of 60 basic units. The trials were considered as politically motivated ones by both Belarusian and international human rights communities.
Considering the new criminal charges to be brought against Zmitser Dashkevich, the Human Rights Center “Viasna” calls upon Belarusian and international human rights communities to launch a campaign of solidarity with Zmitser Dashkevich, expressing its protest and reiterating its demands to the authorities of Belarus to:
- put an end to harassment and prosecution of Zmitser Dashkevich, including attempts to further isolate him through using Art. 411 of the Criminal Code.
- immediately and unconditionally release the prisoner of conscience and take measures to rehabilitate him.