Employee of the Navapolack penal colony convicted of beating a prisoner
In June 2023, the Ušacki Court sentenced an employee of the Navapolack colony No. 1, captain Ihar Piatrou, to six years in a penal colony with a fine. He was sent to serve time in Vitsba colony. Piatrou was convicted under Part 3 of Article 426 of the Criminal Code (actions by an official that clearly go beyond the rights and powers granted to them in the service, involving violence, torture of the victim or the use of weapons or special means), writes Nasha Niva. He was accused of abuse of authority for beating a prisoner. Viasna reports a rare case of punishment of a colony employee for violence against a prisoner.
The human rights defenders of Viasna learnt about a criminal case being opened against an employee of colony No. 1 from a former prisoner at the beginning of the year:
"There was a case when the head of the department of detachments 1-3 Piatrou hit the convict so that the latter had internal bleeding. This convict was released and wrote a complaint. A criminal case was opened against the head of the department. After that, the colony staff calmed down a bit."
At the same time, a former political prisoner of this colony, Vadzim Khizhniakou, said that it usually does not come to the punishment of the guilty:
"Usually, with the joint efforts of Palchyk, the Investagative Committee, the prosecutor's office and the Viciebsk colony, such cases are hushed up: they intimidate the prisoner, and he recants. But I know that there were complaints from those who were released. Then a check is carried out, and the guilty person is sent on vacation for the duration of the proceedings, but then everything is hushed up."
But this case came to court. At the end of 2022, Ihar Piatrou was arrested under Part 3 of Article 426 of the Criminal Code, and in June he was sentenced to six years in prison and fined 11,000 Belarusian rubles.
A former prisoner of penal colony №1 told Nasha Niva the details:
"Shortly before [the beating], there was a "feedback session" in the colony, and employees were even taken to a polygraph. There is such a climate that not only convicts rat on others, but employees as well, constantly.
After Piatrou was arrested, more people were fired. They say that some were sacked for politics, those who somehow spoke out or gave their signatures for alternative candidates."
Human rights defenders continue to collect and document facts of torture and human rights violations in Belarus. If you have suffered from torture by the security forces or have faced inhuman and cruel treatment in a pre-trial detention center, violation of human rights, please write: Telegram: @ViasnaDOC | Email: email@example.com.
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