Dzmitryi Mishakouski: imprisoned despite disability and losing his eyesight in jail
Dzmitryi Mishakouski’s story is one of the many documented by Viasna human rights defenders accounts of torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. After being beaten on August 12, 2020, Dzmitryi has almost lost his vision. In April 2022, Dzmitryi has been officially recognized as a person with a disability, however, he is still being kept in an investigative isolation cell on criminal charges. The trial, which began in early February, is still going on.
The first time Mishakouski was beaten by the riot police on March 25, 2017, on Freedom Day. The police beat him both during his arrest and later in the police bus, including on the head. He was beaten so badly that the officers had to throw him a rag to wipe off the blood.
The second time Mishakousky was arrested in Minsk on August 12, 2020. He could not stay away when he heard about the shooting and stun grenades being thrown at the protesters and decided to go there. However, he was arrested as soon as he exited the metro station. The man was thrown into a police van, his phone was broken.
At the police station, officers started beating him furiously. They beat him with their fists and feet, as well as with their batons. Dzmitryi was hit on the head with boots, they did not let him get up. His teeth were crumbled from the blows. The torture continued in the notorious detention center on Akrescina Street.
A month later, the man’s vision began to decline rapidly. The ophthalmologist confirmed that the issue was very serious and required treatment. Dzmitryi planned to go to Germany to have an eye operation using stem cells. But unexpectedly, new charges were brought against him.
The new criminal case is not related to political protest, but Dzmitryi is convinced that the charges are unfair and that law enforcers are trying to make a scapegoat out of him for crimes he did not commit. After the man was indicted on December 13, 2021, he slit his wrists in his cell in protest.
In April 2021, Dzmitryi was given the second group of disabilities due to his eyesight issues. He used to do industrial climbing and foundations works but had to quit because of his health condition. While he was still hoping to restore his eyesight, he was looking for a job suitable for visually impaired people through the unemployment center before his detention. Unfortunately, medications are of little help in his condition, and surgery is urgently needed. The money the family raised to have it in Germany was spent on the lawyer. However, despite his officially recognized disability, Dzmitryi is kept in detention and can not receive the necessary medical treatment.
Like hundreds of other victims, Dzmitryi Mishakouski filed a complaint with the Investigative Committee for abuse of power by police officers. As in all other cases, there was no investigation of beatings.