Political prisoner Artsiom Prakapenka may be pardoned
According to the political prisoner’s father Anatol Prakapenka, his son, Artsiom Prakapenka, may be released in the near future after he sent a petition for clemency to the President back in February. Earlier, President Lukashenka publicly promised to release political prisoners in case they sought pardon. However, Artsiom Prakapenka is still in prison.
The young man was imprisoned at the age of 20 years and his personality has been significantly affected by the prison system: he has had few contacts with the outside world, receiving almost no letters and worked in colony No. 15 in Mahilioŭ.
Artsiom’s parents have repeatedly asked their son to write a petition for clemency, but the political prisoner refused to do so. In February, he finally sent a petition under pressure from his parents, but there has been no reaction for nearly two months already.
Pavel Syramolatau, who was tried along with Artsiom Prakapenka, wrote a letter of pardon in 2012 and was released in the same year. A total of 30 political prisoners have been pardoned over the past five years, including Pavel Vinahradau, Andrei Sannikau, Dzmitry Bandarenka, Dzmitry Us and others. But only some of them actually asked for a pardon.
Artsiom Prakapenka has been imprisoned since 17 January 2011. He was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment in a strict regime by the Babrujsk Court on charges of hooliganism (Part 2, Art. 339 of the Criminal Code) and damage to property (Part 3, Art. 218 of the Criminal Code). Artsiom was tried together with Yauhen Vaskovich and Pavel Syramolatau.
Human rights activists say that the qualification of the charges is totally wrong and that the punishment was based on political reasons, although not welcoming the form of protest.