Investigative Committee urged to open criminal case for “chlorine torture” in Mahiliou prison
Liudmila Kuchura, whose husband is serving a sentence in penal colony No. 15 in Mahiliou, told the Human Rights Center "Viasna" that the pressure used against the convict poses a serious threat to his health.
Psychological pressure on Piotr Kuchura began after the publication on the website of the human rights organization "Platform Innovation" in June this year of an article alleging extortions in the colony, the appearance of which was attributed to the prisoner and his wife by the administration. One after another, Kuchura received punishments, for example, for “sleeping in forbidden time”, which allows to deprive him of seeing his wife, so that he could not tell her how prisoners are treated in the colony. Liudmila Kuchura herself is known activist of a women's initiative against lawlessness in the courts and the prosecutor's offices.
The penalties were followed by solitary confinement cell-type imprisonment.
A glaring fact, which Liudmila says should result in a punishment for the administration and staff of colony No. 15, took place in the punishment cell.
Piotr Kuchura saw that the wash basin and the toilet were sprayed with chlorine. As soon the water started running, chlorine dissolved in water. As a result, the prisoner could neither see nor breathe because of a strong irritation of the eyes and the mouth; he started knocking on the door. It should be noted that in such premises have extremely poor ventilation. The plumber appeared called only after the prisoner fainted. After the sewage was cleaned, the inmate was given a cloth the size of a handkerchief and told to clean it up. Despite all this, he was transferred to another cell only when his health had deteriorated significantly.
Piotr Kuchura is disabled, he has a heart disease, which he acquired in prison. In connection with the disease he must take daily medication, but he could not do this regularly because of the numerous penalties. There were also instances when the doctor replaced the heart medication with cough pills, but no explanation on this matter could be obtained. Delays in taking drugs can end up with a heart attack, a stroke or a sudden cardiac arrest.
All this is described in detail in a complaint about unlawful actions of the administration and staff of penal colony No. 15, which was sent on November 5 to the head of the Investigative Committee’s Mahiliou regional department. The prisoner’s wife demands to open a probe in order to confirm the fact of chlorine poisoning and consequences of this poisoning and to initiate criminal proceedings against those responsible for causing harm to the health of her husband. However, head of the IC’s office did not A. Rakusau chose not to address the matter and forwarded the complaint to the Mahiliou regional office of the Department of Corrections. However, the Department is not authorized to consider statements and reports on crimes. Indeed, in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code, decisions on applications or reports of crimes committed by officials of the Interior in connection with their official or professional activities are within the exclusive competence of the preliminary investigation agencies.
In this regard, Mrs. Kuchura sent her next complaint prepared by the human rights defenders of “Viasna” to the Deputy Chairman of the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Belarus. The complaint states that the decision by Mr. Rakusau is illegal and violates the rights of both the convict and the applicant.
“Each State Party shall ensure that any individual who alleges he has been subjected to torture in any territory under its jurisdiction has the right to complain to, and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by, its competent authorities” (Article 13, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the UN General Assembly Resolution 39/46 of December 10, 1984).
Legislation of Belarus has no rules on liability of officials for torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, but it is possible to qualify their actions under the Criminal Code which provides for liability for crimes against human rights and against the interests of the service,” among other things is stated in the complaint.
Liudmila Kuchura requests to conduct checks and to adopt a procedural decision aimed at protecting the rights of her husband.