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Political prisoner Viktoryia Kulsha subjected to abuse in detention

2023 2023-05-26T15:30:42+0300 2023-05-26T15:30:42+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Political prisoner Viktoryia Kulsha has been convicted twice in a year under part 1 of Article 411 of the Criminal Code, “malicious disobedience to the demands of the administration of the correctional institution.” The most recent sentence added another 12 months to her three-and-a-half-year imprisonment term. In six months at the Zarečča penal colony, Kulsha has spent at least 92 days in solitary confinement and six months in a cell-type facility. Human rights defenders have recently learned that officers have beaten Kulsha, and she has had two heart attacks due to several hunger strikes. Viasna tells about the pressure exerted on the political prisoner in the penal colony and her current condition.

According to human rights defenders, Women’s Colony No. 24 staff in Zarečča have subjected Viktoryia Kulsha to psychological and physical pressure. It is reported that one of the guards applied a rare choke on her and dragged her around the cell. In addition, Kulsha was frequently insulted and humiliated in front of other guards.

The woman staged several hunger strikes in the colony to protest the terrible conditions, which led to her having two heart attacks.

After some time, the political prisoner was moved to a different unit and given a different job with unbearable conditions. But the head of the colony, Dzmitryi Kurlovich, refused to move her from there. In addition, Kurlovich ignored her complaints about a guard tormenting her.

Viktoryia’s health has severely deteriorated: she has lost weight down to 125 pounds, has low hemoglobin levels, and has tachycardia. She is being treated with folic acid (vitamin B9). She has also been put on a special “diet” for two weeks that provides more food, but her blood is not checked afterward.

The woman is currently waiting for her appeal to be heard at the Homieĺ pre-trial detention center No. 3, but after the appeal, she will be transferred back to Zarečča. Therefore, she is worried about her health and life.

It should be noted that the political prisoner, an occupational safety engineer, was arrested on November 4, 2020, for administering the Drivers 97% telegram channel and chatroom. She was charged under part 1 and part 2 of Article 342 of the Criminal Code, “organization and preparation of actions grossly violating public order”). In February 2021, Kulsha was sentenced to two and a half years in a colony and was sent to serve her sentence in a Homieĺ women’s colony.

In June, she was convicted under Article 411 of the Criminal Code, and an additional year was added to her sentence. Another criminal case was launched against her in the new penal colony under this article. 

In six months in the new colony, Viktoryia spent 92 days in the penalty isolator and was placed in the cell-type facility for six months. On January 31, another criminal case was launched against Kulsha under part 1 of Article 411 of the Criminal Code.

In her letters, the political prisoner writes that she has not received letters even from relatives since March 3 of last year: “They are destroyed according to the act, as they are allegedly written in cipher.”

Apart from Kulsha, political prisoners Alena Maushuk and Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk are also being held at colony No. 24, and pressure is being exerted on them as well. Sharenda-Panasiuk is now awaiting consideration of another criminal case under Article 411 of the Criminal Code.


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