Human rights organizations demand an immediate cessation of the criminal prosecution of political prisoner Mikalai Dziadok and his release from jail

2015 2015-01-22T13:24:25+0300 2015-01-22T13:24:25+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/fidhviasnabhk-logo.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights

and its partner and member organizations

National human rights public association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee"

Human Rights Centre "Viasna"

 

Minsk-Paris,

15 January 2015

 

Human rights organizations demand an immediate cessation of the criminal prosecution of political prisoner Mikalai Dziadok and his release from jail

 

Mikalai Dziadok was taken into custody on September 3, 2010. On May 27, 2011 the Zavadski District Court of Minsk sentenced him to 4.5 years in a maximum-security colony under Part 2 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code for hooliganism. On December 5, 2012, the conditions of the sentence were toughened by a court ruling and Mikalai was transferred from the colony No. 17 in Shklou to prison No. 4 in Mahiliou.

The reason for the imprisonment of Mikalai Dziadok was his participation in a peaceful demonstration against the joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises, held near the Ministry of Defense. The investigation and trial of the case were accompanied with numerous violations of the principles of a fair trial. These circumstances allow to qualify the criminal case as politically motivated and consider Mikalai Dziadok as a political prisoner.

During his imprisonment Mikalai Dziadok has been repeatedly subjected to disciplinary action by the administration of the penitentiary institutions in which he was kept. He was placed into punishment cells and cell-type premises, deprived of visits and parcels. The pressure on Mikalai did not stop even after his transfer to prison No. 4 in Mahiliou. In some cases it was carried out by other prisoners. Within a short period of time, Mikalai was transferred to different cells four times due to provocations and conflicts. As a result, he had to apply to the prison administration with a request for solitary confinement.

Due to pressure and hardships, the health of Mikalai Dziadok has deteriorated. March 3, 2015 was supposed to mark the end of Mikalai Dziadok's sentence. However, a new criminal case has been opened against him under Article 411 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (willful disobedience to the correctional institution administration). The criminal proceedings are based on material from earlier disciplinary actions, imposed on him by the administrations of the penitentiary institutions. On January 13, 2015 the preliminary investigation into the case ended, and passed on to the prosecutor's office to prepare for the trial. If convicted, Mikalai Dziadok could be sentenced to another year in prison. It should be noted that human rights organizations in Belarus are mobilized for the repeal of this article of the Criminal Code, which has no analogue in other former Soviet Union countries, and point to the possibility of its arbitrary use against prisoners who are disloyal to the authorities, with the aim of extending prison sentences.

In connection with the aforementioned, our organizations express our deep concern with the serious threats to the life and health of Mikalai Dziadok and emphasize that the entire responsibility for his safety and protection lies with the administration of the prison No. 4 in Mahiliou and the management of the Department of Corrections of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.

Our organizations also express their protest against the new criminal prosecution of Mikalai Dziadok, which they regard as a purely politically motivated case and demand its immediate termination, as well as the immediate and unconditional release of Mikalai Dziadok and the other political prisoners in Belarus.

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