Picks of the Week
On September 20, human rights defender Alena Masliukova was charged with illegal protesting, after she attended a picket in Svietlahorsk, in which environmental activists demanded to close a local pulp mill. Masliukova denies the charge saying that she came to the city’s central square to monitor the protest.
Earlier, the human rights activist received an official warning from the District Prosecutor. The document argued that Masliukova was involved in the organization of the protest, which resulted in the arrest of at least three people.
Political prisoner Mikhail Zhamchuzhny continues to serve endless penalties in a punishment cell. Over the past three months, he has spent 50 days in solitary confinement. This prevents him from receiving or sending mail, as the prison rules prohibit any correspondence of punishment cell inmates. This has been confirmed by human rights defender Leanid Svetsik. He says that he has not received any letters from Zhamchuzhny since early June.
“The situation is very worrying, because not everyone can withstand such hardships,” says the activist.
Prisoner of conscience Dzmitry Paliyenka has not been allowed to see his father after the visit was canceled without any valid reason. Earlier this month, the prison authorities searched Paliyenka’s personal things and took blank postcards, paper and pens, thus preventing him from writing letters.
Meanwhile, the political prisoner’s sentence is expiring on October 24.
“A month before his release, they are using every means possible to put pressure on the prisoner,” Maryna Nasenka, Paliyenka’s fellow activist, said. “We believe society should not ignore such cases.”
Representatives of three Human Rights Houses completed a human rights monitoring mission in Crimea. The mission aimed to “explore first-hand and document the human rights situation in the occupied peninsula.”
“Since 2014, the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated sharply,” Viasna’s human rights defender Aleh Matskevich, who was part of the mission, said. “For example, if a person says that Crimea is Ukraine, it means imprisonment. People are persecuted for exercising their right to peaceful assembly when they go to the pickets. People are punished for the fact that they are trying to create new associations, as well as for belonging to various alleged terrorist organizations.”