Former arrestee describes conditions in arrest house in Baranavičy

2015 2015-07-14T13:49:32+0300 2015-07-14T13:49:32+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Former prisoner Aliaksandr Bialchuk, owner of a large part-time farm in the village of Arlianka in Malaryta district, who was serving a 2 month arrest in the arrest house in Baranavičy, told about the conditions in this correctional facility.

According to him, ten people were held in a cell, the seize of which was 6 square meters. There were two-storeyed bunk beds, a table and the benches, on which the people were to sit the whole day. The regime also provided for one-hour walk a day, but the arrestees often refused from it.

Most of those who serve terms in the arrest house (that is located in a former stable) have been convicted for minor thefts, violations of traffic rules and those who do not pay child support.

Aliaksandr Bialchuk filed several complaints about violations in the arrest house, but hasn't received any answers.

“We are nobody there. When I was released, they didn't return me 300,000 rubles that had been put on my account by my father, but I didn't say anything. Otherwise they could have prolonged the term for one month,” says Aliaksandr Bialchuk. “That's how they threatened to the bravest ones.”

According to Alaliaksandr Bialchuk, the arrestees weren't sent to work and had to spend the whole day in the smoky cell. Just three weeks before the end of his term Bialchuk and five other prisoners were charged with making a new fence around the arrest house. At first they worked under the supervision of a police ensign. Then the head of the arrest house allowed them to work without supervision, but the duty officers didn't agree to it. According to Bialchuk, each officer had his own idea how the fence was to be built: “One says – do it this way, then there comes another one's shift and he tells to disassemble what we have made and start again, and so on.”

The former arrestee pointed that the cell served them as a canteen, a basin, a toilet, a laundry and a dryer. The toilet was just a hole in the floor, open to the rest of the cell. Therefore, the arrestees had to separate the toilet from the rest of the cell with a blanket. The clothes were washed in a basin and dried in the cell. The clothes didn't lose the prison stink even after the washing, it just got cleaner.

The arrestees were served sauerkraut three times a day, got a loaf of brown bread for 4 people a day and a loaf of white bread for 5 people. They got little tea and a matchbox of sugar a day. One could buy only more tea from the guards. In the prison shop it was possible to buy a kilo of sugar a month, cookies, candies (100,000 rubles per kilo) and cigarettes, if the arrestee had money on his account. Mr. Bialchuk lost 11 kilos after spending two months in the arrest house.