FIDH and Viasna demand to stop cruel treatment and torture of Mikita Likhavid
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and
the Human Rights Centre Viasna demand
to stop cruel treatment and torture of political prisoner Mikita Likhavid
Paris-Minsk, 9 June 2011
As it became known to the Human Rights Center Viasna, on 27 May 21-year-old Mikita Likhavid, who is serving a sentence of imprisonment for a term of 3.5 years in maximum security colony in Navapolatsk after participating in the protest rally on 19 December 2010 in Minsk, was put in a punitive isolation cell. The reason is that he refuses to sign the commitment to comply with the prison regime because he considers himself as unlawfully convicted.
It is worth reminding that on 29 March 2011 the Partyzanski District Court of Minsk sentenced M.Likhavid to 3.5 years of imprisonment under Part 2 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code (participation in mass riot).
The Human Rights Centre Viasna, an organization member of the FIDH in Belarus, monitored the trial of M.Likhavid and concluded that the verdict issued by the court was unlawful and politically motivated.
According to the received information, M. Likhavid is subject to inhuman and degrading treatment that is in fact torture in the penal colony in Navapolatsk.
Conditions of detention in punitive isolation cells of Belarus became the subject of sharp criticism of the Belarusian and international human rights organizations. FIDH also drew attention to the conditions of detention in jail in its report on conditions in Belarusian prisons.
Thus, during their stay in prison inmates are not provided with walks, are not given bedding, they are forbidden to lie or sit on the bunk or on the floor (bunks are fixed to the walls during the daytime). In addition, convicted persons are prohibited to wear warm clothes, and the temperature in cells is often very low. Convicts are in fact deprived of sleep, fell cold all the time and are constantly denied access to free air. These conditions obviously do not meet minimal international standards of detention.
In the case of M.Likhavid his placement in the punitive isolator cannot be considered as anything else by an additional instrument of pressure on him by the Belarusian authorities.
In this regard, we demand to:
- stop the cruel treatment and torture as well as any other psychological and physical pressure on Mikita Likhavid;
- drop the criminal case against participants of the peaceful demonstration of 19 December 2010, immediately and unconditionally release all those detained in the case, pardon or amnesty those who have been convicted and cancel any consequences of conviction (criminal record and other restrictions on rights);
- bring the conditions of prisoners in punitive isolation cells in the penal colonies and prisons into compliance with international standards of detention.