Prison officials limit Mikalai Dziadok’s meetings with lawyer
On June 25, Mikalai Dziadok’s meeting with his lawyer lasted only 15 minutes. The rest of the time allocated for the counsel’s visit to prison was taken by the preparation of papers, accommodating the lawyer in the visiting room and waiting for the political prisoner. This is not the first time that the duration of Mikalai Dziadok’s communication with the counsel is severely limited.
Meanwhile, the lawyer’s visits are extremely important at the moment, as the political prisoner is preparing complaints to the Prosecutor’s Office against illegal actions of the prison administration.
“In accordance with the Criminal Executive Code of the Republic of Belarus, in order to receive legal assistance prisoners have the right to use the services of lawyers or other persons entitled to render legal assistance. Procedure for arranging meetings with lawyers is set by the internal regulations of correctional institutions: in particular, such visits are not included in the number of visits provided by law, and their number and duration are not limited, but they are held in non-working hours and only in the period between wakeup and going to bed. Thus, arbitrary restriction of the prisoner’s meetings with the lawyer is a violation of the right to legal protection, on the one hand. On the other hand, such actions of the colony administration impinge on guarantees of lawyers’ activities: the Law “On the Bar and the legal profession in the Republic of Belarus” prohibits obstruction of this activity by any means. In particular, it prohibits hindrance in providing private meetings of the counsel with his client in conditions that ensure the confidentiality of such meetings, as well as limiting their number and duration,” comments Pavel Sapelka, lawyer of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”.
At the moment, the political prisoner is confined in the punishment cell where he was placed on June 23 for refusing to work after his transfer to the colony in Horki. He was instructed to assemble wooden pallets 7 hours and 5 days a week, and 3 hours on Saturday with a monthly payment of 5,000 Belarusian rubles, which can be regarded as forced labor under the threat of punishment.
At the same time, Mikalai Dziadok has repeatedly tried to explain the actual reasons for the formal “violations” in his letters to the head of the penal facility Aliaksandr Lapatka. He also asked for different work in accordance with his qualifications and physical condition. However, the prison official did not listen to the explanations of the political prisoner, again and again punishing him with confinement in a punishment cell.
“By their actions, the prison authorities violate the prisoner’s right to legal protection. In addition, we wrote to the Department of Corrections of the Ministry of Internal Affairs with complaints against arbitrary actions of the colony administration. But they said that the actions were legal. We believe that the administration of colony No. 9 acts intentionally, deliberately and specifically provoking Mikalai to commit violations of the detention regime in order to suppress his will,” says the political prisoner’s father.
Mikalai Dziadok has served 4.5 years in prison for alleged hooliganism against official buildings and had to be released on 3 March 2015. However, on February 26 the court of Mahilioŭ’s Lieninski district convicted the political prisoner under Article 411 of the Criminal Code (“willful disobedience to the administration of the penal facility’) and sentenced him to one more year of imprisonment in a penal colony. On April 30, the sentence was confirmed by a court of appeals.