Authorities are afraid to admit human rights defenders to the Salihorsk detention center
According to the
human rights defender Leanid Markhotka, the Head
of the Salihorsk District Police Department
Aliaksandr Astreika did not allow
representatives of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee to visit the
local detention isolator.
Back on 29 July the human rights activists filed a letter to the head of the Salihorsk police, asking to admit the BHC representatives in the Salihorsk detention center so that they could prepare an alternative report on the implementation of the recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review by Belarus. Aliaksandr Astreika promised to take a decision within three days, but delayed the fulfillment of his promise for more than a week.
“Though it is not a violation according to the Law “On Applications of Citizens”, but if such high officials cannot keep their word, then it is not comme il faut,” commented Mr. Markhotka.
Meanwhile, Mr. Astreika violated another provision of the aforementioned law by the failure to explain the order of appealing against his answer. Moreover, the human rights defenders say that his answer is meaningless.
“Our officials have developed the habit of mindless copypasting of large excerpts from laws in their answers instead of giving response on the merits”, said Leanid Markhotka. “Our references to the concrete articles of the Laws “On "On Information" and "On Public Associations" were simply ignored, that's why we are going to appeal this answer.”
The human rights activist does not rule out that the reluctance to allow independent observers to the Salihorsk detention center can ensue from the failure to implement the actual legal standards of prison conditions. In such circumstances, the public can reasonably question the effectiveness of the repairs of the detention center, announced this spring.
Bear in mind that the local activists repeatedly complained about the inhumane conditions for prisoners in the local detention center. In the past year, the activist of the Salihorsk branch of the “Young Front” Ivan Shyla filed a special appeal to the Minister of Internal Affairs due to the failure of the administration of the detention center to implement the legal standards of the treatment of prisoners, which resulted in the death of a young Salihorsk dweller as a result of a trauma, incurred in the detention center.