As part of the monitoring of the penitentiary system carried out by the Human Rights Center "Viasna", human rights defenders keep receiving letters in which prison inmates provide specific evidence of human rights violations against people in custody and serving sentences, including allegations of torture, and other evidence of inhumane treatment to prisoners.
Article 441 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, “Malignant insubordination to the administration of the correctional facility which executes the punishment in the form of deprivation of liberty” is a reliable means to exercise pressure and “re-educate” prisoners, used by the administration of the Belarusian penal colonies. However, does this article really implement the functions which were given to it by the legislators?
The scope of means used by those who are entrusted with the fate of prisoners includes plenty of methods that look legitimate and are aimed at making the conviction life-long. Such a disappointing conclusion has been voiced by human rights lawyer Pavel Sapelka following the analysis of the provisions of Article 411 of the Criminal Code – “Deliberate disobedience to the correctional institution administration that executes the sentence of imprisonment.”
The lists of citizens of Belarus who have the right to vote has about 7 million voters. Ballots are usually cast by more than 5 million. Behind these figures it is difficult to see 40-50 thousand persons deprived of their right to vote in connection with criminal proceedings.
The law enforcement agencies of Belarus have drafted a bill “On Making Addenda and Amendments to the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedures, and the Penal Code of Belarus, as well as the Code of Administrative Offences”, said Mrs. Natallia Andreyeva, head of the department of procedural control over the investigation of crimes against property of the Investigative Committee of Belarus, at a briefing with a BelTA news agency reporter.
All information concerning the analysis of penal law and penal system monitoring will be published in a thematic section on the website of the Human Rights Center “Viasna”.
The section’s expert is lawyer Pavel Sapelka.
Here is an article by Pavel Sapelka, dealing with the urgency of the issue of human rights violations against people in custody, those serving sentences and held in other institutions.