Authorities to investigate death in Žodzina jail

2016 2016-10-20T13:00:38+0300 2016-10-20T13:04:59+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Maryna Bahdanava

Maryna Bahdanava

The Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into the death of Aleh Bahdanau, an inmate of Žodzina jail No. 8, on 29 January 2016.

The decision came nearly eight months after the victim’s mother, Maryna Bahdanava, filed her first complaint against the prison staff, who, according to the woman, failed to provide proper medical assistance to her son.

Aleh Bahdanau had a cardiac disease, and in 2014 he underwent heart surgery. After the surgery, he had to take medicines, regularly undergo tests and be under care of a cardiologist. All this could not be provided in detention. Shortly before his death Bahdanau complained about the lack of treatment and harassment by the prison staff, since for health reasons he was forced to break prison rules, namely lay on the bed in the daytime. Aleh Bahdanau was sent to solitary confinement for violations of prison rules, although his sentence had not entered into force (afterwards, the conviction was overturned by a court of appeal), and died on January 29. His body showed injuries typical of a beating.

Ms. Bahdanava wrote to the city office of the Investigative Committee asking to investigate the improper performance of professional duties by the medical staff of prison No. 8. However, the authorities refused to open a criminal case, saying that the death occurred as a result of the prisoner’s  disease, which was not caused by the actions of third persons.

The woman later submitted two more requests, but the Investigative Committee again refused to open a criminal case again. As a result, Ms. Bahdanava appealed against the decision to the Prosecutor's Office of Minsk region.

Finally, on October 5, during a personal reception at the office of the Investigative Committee’s Chairman, the mother was told that the death of her son would be investigated as part of a criminal case under Part 2 of Article 162 of the Criminal Code (“improper performance of professional duties by a medical officer, which negligently caused the death of a patient”).

Meanwhile, the Maskoŭski District Court of Minsk has completed the consideration of a similar criminal case opened under the same charges. Paramedic Aliaksandr Krylou was accused of failing to provide timely assistance to Ihar Ptsichkin, an inmate of Minsk jail No. 1, who died while serving arrest in August 2014. The prosecutor asked to sentence the defendant to 3 years of imprisonment in a penal settlement. The verdict in the case is expected in the near future.