Political prisoner Statkevich accused of “avoiding community service”
“A commission discussed a possible change of the confinement regime on January 16. Such meetings are held without an inmate's application, when time comes,” Statkevich says. “I expected this outcome, but the reason was a surprise. I 'failed to choose a course of correction' because I 'was not involved in prisoners' activity' and 'avoided community service'.”
“Of course, I didn't choose the course of correction. It is not necessary for an innocent person. But it remains a big question for me how one can perform 'community service' or 'be involved in prisoners' activity' in solitary confinement,” Statkevich writes ironically.
Former presidential candidate Mikalai Statkevich was sentenced by Minsk's Leninski district court in May 2011 to 6 years of imprisonment on charges of organising riots on the day of the presidential elections on December 19, 2010.
He began to serve his term in correctional facility No. 17 in Shklou, but confinement conditions for him were toughened in January 2012. The prison authorities said he “failed to choose a course of correction”, “does not seek early release” and plans to “continue criminal activity” after the release. A formal ground for the stricter punishment was that Statkevich didn't have a label with his prisoner's number on his uniform and that he failed to put handkerchiefs on the list of his personal belongings.
Statkevich was transferred to prison No. 4 in Mahilou for three years. He returned to correctional facility No. 17 in Shklou on January 12.
It became known some days ago that Mikalai Statkevich was deprived of a long-term meeting with his family due to two violations of prison rules that he allegedly committed during the first two days in the correctional facility. According to the politician's wife, the first violation was improper clothing (Statkevich wore the trousers he received in the Mahilou prison), the second violation was that he was not in bed 15 minutes before the bed check.
International human rights organisations recognised Miklai Statkevich a political prisoner.