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Police are not punished for murder

2008 2008-10-07T18:34:04+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The court did not bring to account the policemen of Babruisk pre-trial detention centre who had clubbed Dzianis Klimachou to death. The formal reason is the expiry of the criminal prosecution period.

Dzianis Klimachou suddenly died in the pre-trial detention centre 7 years ago, in 2001. Parents were given a body of their son crippled and blackened with hematomas. Experts allegedly found the reason of Dzianis’ death: he died from a cardiac failure caused by alcoholic cardiopathy.

Dzianis’ cousin Alena Abramovich didn’t believe that diagnosis and started to write complaints. Finally, the criminal case was opened. The investigation and trials lasted for long seven years. Investigators, prosecutors and courts changed several times.

‘During the corpse identification in the forensic tests morgue I was shocked that the body of my brother was blue with marks of blows. There were large scratches and hematomas. The nasal septum was deviated to the right. Forensic experts have come to the conclusion that there were 35 blunt object blows on the body of my brother,’ Alena Abramovich said to the European Radio for Belarus.

During the first trial in 2003 the assistant of the pre-trial detention centre’s head officer Leanovich and the head of the medical unit of the pre-trial detention centre Puhach were given a conditional sentence under the article ‘omission of an official person’. But this verdict does not satisfy Dzianis Klimachou’s relatives.

Moreover, suddenly there were found witnesses of Dzianis’ beating in he pre-trial detention centre. More than 20 women were sitting in the prison cell next to Dzianis. They heard the blows and the prisoner’s calls for help.

Journalists met a witness of the events, Alena Shchahlova. Then in Babruisk pre-trial detention centre the woman was waiting for the court for robbery. Now Alena lives in the village of Bircha, Mahiliou region. She has 5 children.

‘He was in cell #39, and we in the 37th. He was taken bad, he asked to call in an ambulance; he was calling for help. It was already dark. The shift changed, he asked for help, and they didn’t call in an ambulance. And then came those… and said: ‘He is dead’. But why have he died? When they were beating him, he said: ‘Do not beat me’. You know how they are beating. They do not look where they deliver blows.

Have you seen the pictures? And they are saying he died because of a heart failure? I will never believe that. He was so blue, and trousers were cut to dress him before the funerals. I was told in Minsk prosecutor’s office that his legs were swollen dreadfully. And his body was bluish and battered,’ Alena Shchahlova said.

In Babruisk journalists met with the head of Babruisk’s pre-trial detention centre’s medical unit Vasil Puhach who was accused in this case in 2003 for “omission of an official person’. The former worker of the pre-trial detention centre told about some details of Klimachou’s death:

‘There was a blow by a blunt object. It could be a boot or a rubber club. A boot and a rubber club was everything they had at that moment. Four right ribs were fractured. And on the left they seemed to try to make a heart massage. It was a squeezing force used. They broke four more ribs and hid that till the morning.

I could not understand what for they had been beating him. Well, you have a madman in the cell, but why beating him? We have seen many of them, but nobody ever touched them. If the case would have been actually hyped, it could be murder, and it would be a sensation, and really many heads would roll,’ Vasil Puhach said.

In 2006 the office of the prosecutor general decided the investigation of this extraordinary criminal case should be continued. Grave crimes investigator of Mahiliou oblast Alexander Viarzhbitski agrees that Dzianis Klimachou had been beaten up severely.

The case was investigated under charges of ‘abuse of office’ (up to 12 years of imprisonment), and then the investigator classified the crime as ‘dereliction of duty by an official’. The pre-trial detention centre’s assistant head officer on duty Leanovich and Mazhavoi were accused.

Finally on 2 October the judge of Hlusk district Siarhei Takarchuk delivered a verdict: to close the criminal case as the period of limitation for criminal prosecution was over.

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