Political prisoner and artist Ales Pushkin dies in prison at 57
Pushkin, a well-known Belarusian artist, was sentenced to five years in a medium-security penal colony. He was accused of desecrating state symbols (Article 370 of the Criminal Code) and inciting hatred (part 3 of Article 130 of the Criminal Code). While the verdict was being announced, Pushkin spoke loudly and removed his clothes to show cuts on his stomach shaped like a cross. For this, he was put in a disciplinary cell for 13 days.
Judge Alena Shylko delivered the verdict, and the prosecutor in the case was Aliaksandr Karol.
According to the information available to human rights defenders, Judge Aliaksandr Kirylovich, of Ivacevičy District Court decided on November 11, 2022, to increase Pushkin’s security regime to imprisonment in a high-security prison for 18 months. Shortly after that, the political prisoner was transferred to Hrodna Prison No. 1, where he remained until his death.
Aled Pushkin was first detained for the first time in 1988 for participating in a rally. In 1999, Pushkin performed his most famous act, “Manure for the President”. He brought a wheelbarrow full of manure to Lukashenka’s administration, dumped it out, put Lukashenka’s portrait on top, and impaled it with a pitchfork. Since then, many performances, arrests, and days behind bars have occurred. Ales Pushkin remained true to himself and continued to follow his challenging path. The artist considered the painting of a church in the small village of Babry to be his life’s work.
The human rights centre Viasna expresses condolences to Ales’ family and loved ones.