Former political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich appeals ban on leaving town for treatment

2014 2014-07-17T16:59:08+0300 2014-07-17T16:59:08+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Former political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich in Minsk on July 16, 2014. Photo by

Former political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich in Minsk on July 16, 2014. Photo by

Former political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich, who has been subjected to strict restrictions in connection with preventive supervision, believes that employees of Vaukavysk police department violated his rights by preventing him from traveling to Minsk for examination in a private medical center.

The ban on leaving his home town scheduled from May 28 to June 7 was received by Autukhovich on May 27. Representatives of the police department told him he should provide an official paper issued by a state healthcare authority, which would indicate the need for such a checkup.

Former political prisoner says the ban is groundless, as it violates his rights under the law on internal affairs bodies and healthcare. He has lodged a complaint with the Prosecutor of Vaukavysk District.

“Police staff exceeded their authority when they imposed unreasonable restrictions and set illegal requirements. Previously, for five years, while in prison, I asked at various levels in the Ministry of Internal Affairs for an opportunity to pay for a qualified dental treatment. Until now, all prohibitions and restrictions have been associated with the fact that I was in prison, and organizing an escort to a medical facility was difficult. Now I am free, but I am again forced to suffer physically due to the fact that police officers arbitrarily exercise their right to perform preventive supervision,” he writes in the complaint.

Article 80 of the Criminal Code says that preventive supervision is established for observing the behavior of a former prisoner, to prevent crimes on his part and to exert a necessary preventive effect. According to the Law “On bodies of the Interior of the Republic of Belarus”, activities of these bodies are based on the principles of law, respect for and observance of human rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens, humanism. Law enforcement officers should in all cases limiting the rights and freedoms explain the reasons for such restrictions, as well as the person’s rights and obligations in this regard.

According to the Law “On Health Care”, the patient has the right to receive medical care, to choose doctors and medical institutions, as well as to participate in the choice of methods of providing medical care, the choice of persons who can receive information on the state of his health. On this basis, Mikalai Autukhovich concludes that employees of Vaukavysk police department unreasonably deprived him of the possibility to freely choose a health care facility.

“Moreover, they are forcing me to disclose medical secrecy – information about the fact of seeking medical help and about my health. They unreasonably questioned the conclusions of a doctor, who sent me for a survey in a certain medical institution,” he says in his complaint to the prosecutor.

Insisting that the grounds for a ban on traveling outside the city can only be arguments about his wrongful intent or purpose to complicate supervision, Mikalai Autukhovich asks the prosecutor to give legal assessment to the actions of employees of the police department in Vaukavysk. However, he notes that immediately after this ban he was allowed to travel to Minsk for temporary residence – without specifying the purpose. In his view, this means that by itself his leaving for Minsk posed “no danger to the interests of the state and society, which are protected by law”.

After his release, the Leninski District Court of Hrodna ruled to impose preventive supervision on the political prisoner for a period of 16 months. He can travel outside the city or district for official and personal affairs only with the consent of the internal affairs body performing preventive supervision.