Mother of inmate who died in jail faces obstacles in access to information
Zhanna Ptsichkina, the mother of Ihar Ptsichkin, who died in jail in 2013, has received another answer from the Prosecutor General’s Office.
In his reply, head of the Prosecutor General’s Office secretariat I. Siauruk, refused to issue a copy of the decision on cancellation of an order to discontinue the preliminary investigation into the death of Ihar Ptsichkin. The reason for the ban is that “the decision also affects the interests of other parties to the investigation.”
Although the answer says that Zhanna Ptsichkina “upon completion of the preliminary investigation is entitled to have access to the materials of the criminal case and write out information in any amount,” lawyer of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Pavel Sapelka notes:
“In accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code of Belarus, the victim is entitled to receive from the authority conducting the criminal proceedings communications on the decisions that affect their rights and interests, and at their request also to receive free copies of these decisions. In order to define the terms: a body conducting the criminal proceedings is the body of criminal prosecution and the court; in turn, the prosecuting authority is a body of inquiry, the investigator and the prosecutor. That is, the public prosecutor is obliged to give a copy of the decision affecting the rights of the victim. The absence of a copy of such a decision deprives a citizen (the victim) of the possibility to evaluate the decision in terms of legality and validity, and completeness of the investigation of the circumstances of the case and the arguments of the complaint. The public prosecutor, as the prosecuting authority, is obliged to protect the rights and freedoms of persons involved in criminal proceedings, to create the conditions stipulated by the Criminal Procedure Code for the its implementation, take timely measures to address the legitimate demands of participants in criminal proceedings. Limitation of rights and freedoms of persons involved in criminal proceedings is permitted only on the grounds and in the manner prescribed by the Criminal Procedure Code.”
Ihar Ptsichkin died from cardiac arrest while serving a short prison term on 4 August 2013, the reasons for which are not clear. His relatives believe that the death was a result of violence by prison guards, since his body had many bruises.