Piotr Kuchura’s wife: Some progress in investigation of torture report
The ongoing efforts of Viasna’s human rights defenders and the wife of Piotr Kuchura, who is serving a sentence of imprisonment in Mahiliou penal colony No. 15, have finally brought certain results. It must be a complaint sent to the UN Human Rights Committee on behalf of the convict, who was reportedly poisoned while in prison, that made the investigating authorities react to torture reports.
In late May, the prisoner’s wife received a notification from the Office of the Investigative Committee in the Mahiliou region saying that a probe had been launched to determine the fact of chlorine poisoning and the alleged consequences of this poisoning, including a forensic medical examination. Liudmila Kuchura’s complaints will also be investigated in accordance with Article 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus, as she requested to initiate criminal proceedings against those responsible for causing harm to the health of her husband.
According to Ms. Kuchura, the news was for her a complete surprise, because almost nine months has passed since her husband was allegedly tortured in jail. “During this time I have written a lot of complaints both to the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office, which were unreasonably denied. I also appealed to the court, which sided with those who do iniquity. Back on May 13, the Investigative Committee’s Office in Mahiliou said all these proceedings were dismissed. Besides, me and my husband received answers from the Prosecutor General’s Office saying the same thing – that I could not appeal to the higher authorities. And suddenly this message...”
Liudmila also said that two weeks ago she was summoned to the Investigative Committee of the Mashouski district of Minsk, at the request of the Investigative Committee’s Office in Mahiliou, for explanations. “In my explanations I said that I did not trust that probe and that the examination, which will now be carried out, had meaning only for them. I doubt that after nine months it is possible to establish the presence of chlorine in the body. Yes, there may be some changes in the lungs, but again, these changes may be interpreted as they wish – a cold, or something else... It is clear that the probe under Article 174 of the CPC is carried out only now in order to conceal the criminal acts of the administration of penal colony No. 15,” she said.
Human rights defenders of the HRC “Viasna” believe that in this case not only the administration of PC-15, but also representatives of those entities which have for a long time hampered objective investigation, should be held responsible.
In March, having exhausted all domestic remedies, Liudmila Kuchura submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee a complaint on the fact of bleach poisoning of her husband in the PC-15, which could be used against the convict deliberately as a means of torture, cruel and inhuman treatment. The complaint, prepared with the help of the HRC “Viasna”, asks to “establish a violation by the State of Piotr Kuchura’s right under Article 7, paragraph 2 of Article 10 and the general legal obligations under Article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to appoint a fair compensation”. Liudmila Kuchura considers it possible to demand from the government compensation for moral damage, which resulted in physical and moral suffering of her husband.