Letters from Statkevich: Political prisoner still cheerful, despite endless pressure by prison administration

2012 2012-10-26T10:48:16+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/statkevich-m.jpg
Mikalai Statkevich

Mikalai Statkevich

For weeks, Maryna Adamovich, the wife of former candidate for president Mikalai Statkevich, had not received letters from her husband. But yesterday came two letters at once.

He does not see the sun or the ones he loves
Statkevich remains behind bars for two years and during this time has had to be in two colonies. Given his status of "a malicious offender", the letters are almost the only way to contact the prisoner.
"His strict regime of detention allows only one brief meeting a year, which I have already used together with his father. This was through a double glass, through the bars, with a warden standing behind him, through a broken receiver, but the important thing is that I saw him. In addition he was allowed one phone call a month, which should be shared among all his relatives and one small parcel of 2 kilos a year. I cannot do anything else to help him," says Maryna Adamovich.

After the visit of the papal nuncio Statkevich has been unsuccessfully asking the administration of the colony to allow a meeting with an Orthodox priest. At the time of writing such permission was not received by the political prisoner. Maryna Adamovich says that Statkevich’s letter said that the meeting with the representative of the Pope was the only opportunity for a long time to look out the window.

"They’ve got a small gridded window in the ceiling, and they are taken for a walk with a neighbor in turns to stroll where the sun sometimes shines. All he can see during the rest of the time are the four walls," says the ex-candidate’s wife.

Punished for bread
Earlier Mikalai Statkevich got the status of a violator for not listing a handkerchief among his personal items and having no labels on the uniform that he was given in the colony. This time, he is threatened to be punished for ... drying bread.

"They tried to scare me with punishment for drying rye bread instead of keeping it in a plastic bag. Bread is given in the morning for the whole day, in one piece. Black bread is of poor quality, clearly not meeting the standards because of moisture. I slice it with a knife and leave it so that I can eat it later. Usually prisoners eat the crust only," reads a letter from Maryna Adamovich’s husband.

Meanwhile, the colony does not implement even the basic requirements for the treatment of prisoners. Regularly taking about half of the prisoner’s pension, they do not give out any soap, toothpaste, or a razor.

According to Maryna Adamovich, Statkevich has not changed his attitude to the situation and his beliefs. He still refuses to sign the petition for clemency and is cheerful, ironical over the situation in his letters.

Statkevich was sentenced to six years in prison for allegedly organizing a mass riot.