Vitebsk human rights activist taken to police station from intensive care unit

2008 2008-07-16T14:43:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Paval Levinau, outstanding human rights defender, representative of Belarusian Helsinki Committee in Vitebsk, and our friend needs help today.


This March Paval rendered legal aid to the journalists whose homes were searched in conjunction with the Minich –Marozau-Abozau case (the case of political cartoons which allegedly insult the honor of the Belarusian president). Those days Levinau managed to help many people but was detained when trying to help journalist Vadzim Barshcheuski.


The human rights defender was accused of using foul language and disobedience to police officers. According to the police, Levinau used foul language when addressing police major Ihar Skarynovich. The police claim they had even shoot the incident with the video camera. According to Paval, the only thing he said into the camera was: “Please record that I am not doing anything wrong”. As a result, the video was not attached to the case materials. In the beginning the law-enforcement officers referred to the fact that the video was of low quality and the image was too dark. Later it turned out that the video camera belonged to one of the police officers and it was his private business how he would like to use the materials.


Protesting against forging of documents (police reports, etc.) Paval Levinau was on a 15-day hunger strike. During and after that he went through numerous instances demanding fair investigation of his case.


Then a number of court sessions followed. Many of them were carried out with serious violations. Then the court verdict came: 10 days of arrest and a fine of 700, 000 BYR . The judge made the verdict in the absence of the defendant (Levinau informed her in advance about his absence), which is illegal.


Yesterday Levinau visited Vitebsk region prosecutor Henadz Dysko, trying to get the illegal verdict cancelled. The prosecutor promised to study the case. However, at the doors of the proecutor’s office he was detained by policemen who showed him the arrest warrant. Levinau tried to get to the prosecutor’s office again, but was detained by special police.


Levinau felt unwell in the police station. The ambulance took him to city hospital # 2. Cardiologist on duty Valiantsina Kamoska received a phone call and… refused to hospitalize the human rights defender. Coming out of the hospital Levinau collapsed. He became conscious only in several hours in the intensive care unit.


Unfortunately, this is not the first case when Paval is denied medical help during the litigation. The first time the ambulance arrived to the pick up the human rights activist to the police station on the day when he allegedly used foul language. Then the medical workers did not allow the police to put their patient behind bars. However, this time the police took Levinau right from the intensive care unit and brought him to the police station. Head of medical department of Vitebsk hospital #2 Alena Mamchur refused to answer Aleh Hulak’s question, if Paval could serve the sentence in his health condition.


We ask you not to remain indifferent:


  1. Please address Vitebsk region prosecutor Henadz Dysko and his assistants with the request to check the legality of Levinau’s detention and defend his rights. The telephone number of Henadz Dysko is +37521 227 40 60.
  2. Please address head of the medical department Alena Mamchur with the question if Paval Levinau can serve the sentence in his health condition. Alena mamchur’s phone is +37521 234 09 32.




Aleh Hulak

Chairman of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee

Latest news