New Information about Tortures in Penal Colonies
A citizen of Mazyr Halina Pilchanka gave the following information to the United Civil Party. Her son, Pavel Pilchanka, a police officer, is spending a prison term at IK-1 colony in Kalvaryiskaia Street. There people make furniture in two shifts with no days off. After Pavel refused to work on a holiday he was taken to a penal isolator for 14 days. It was December, there was no heating in the isolator and the window was broken. The guards took away his socks. As a result he got his feet frost-bitten. The feet got swollen and ached. The prison doctor prescribed intravenous injections, ointment, ascorbic acid and other medicines. The head of the medical department let the mother pass a parcel with medicines to her son. Nevertheless, the parcel was returned. Then Halina Pilchanka sent a telegram to the Ministry of Health Care, but an answer came from the Department of punishment execution. It was said that Pavel Pilchanka had already received medical aid.
Halina Pilchanka states that the colony administration doesn’t let out any of the prisoners’ petitions to the presidential administration. In August 2006 Pavel spent 1/3 of his term and applied for parole to the appropriate Commission of the presidential administration. However, the documents didn’t reach the commission and were returned to the prisoner.
Liudmila Kuchura, wife of a prisoner Piatro Kuchura, also told about the tortures he husband faced. ‘For placing a prisoner to a penal isolator the prison doctor must sign an appropriate certificate. My husband, Piatro Kuchura, has sciatica and a high blood pressure, 150 x 100. In these conditions the doctor signed an agreement for his first placement to the penal isolator. Next time he was taken there for three days for coming to a medical department for medicines without convoy,’ the woman said.
The prisoner thusly described the conditions in the penal isolator: ‘the radiators were cold and the temperature was the same that outdoors, but without wind. I woke up at 0.30 a.m. on 11 November, because I was shaking all over from freeze. I knocked to the duty controller’s door and asked why the radiators were cold. He said that the radiators were disconnected by sanitary technicians and he had no relation to it. I knocked once again and asked to give me a quilted jacked. He answered it was not within his power to decide such questions and advised to shut up. I asked him to call the duty assistant or the commander of the guard.
Ten minutes later a brigade consisting of lieutenant-colonel Mirutka and three more persons came in. Mirutka commanded: ‘Hands to the wall. In the case of resistance we will use physical force and special means – gas.’ I didn’t resist. They twisted my arms and handcuffed me to the chain that holds the plank-bed. Then they went away. I sat there silently. An hour later the duty controller was answering a telephone call. ‘Yes, he goes on brawling and calling names’, he said. I objected and said I was sitting silently. He didn’t answer, but ten minutes later the brigade came to my cell again and major Kulikou squeezed the handcuffs on my wrists as strong as he could. I asked to ease the handcuffs, but he answered that one could keep them this way for two hours and nothing will happen. ‘Even if something goes wrong, it doesn’t bother me. What do you need hands for, you are in jail,’ he said. Kulikou also covered my head with a towel, saying it was against sunstroke. Two hours later, at 4 a.m., they returned and removed the handcuffs. The hands went blue and there were deep pinchers on the wrists.
They left the door of my cell open and I spent the last 2 days in draught.’
The wife wrote complaints to al; instances including the presidential administration, the Minister of Interior and the Prosecutor General. All of them were forwarded to the Department of punishment execution or Minsk regional prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office informed her that no violations were found as a result of the conducted check-up.
What is going on in penal institutions is closed information. Prisoners’ relatives receive only a little part of information about tortures. However, even then it is known that in December a prisoner of IK-1 Iudzinski attempted a suicide and on 22 September 2006 a man hung himself in the penal isolator of this colony.