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Bandarenka may be returned to prison just after operation

2011 2011-07-27T16:56:50+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The coordinator of European Belarus civil campaign has undergone surgery today at the 5th hospital in Minsk.

The operation lasted for 2.5 hours. “Neurosurgeons said it was successful,” the wife of the political prisoner, Volha Bandarenka, said. It is too early to make any conclusions, because such operations require at least some months of rehabilitation.

Nevertheless, there’s a threat that the political prisoner may be returned tomorrow to the republican prison hospital, which is located in the detention facility of the Interior Ministry. Conditions in the prison hospital, which does not have neurosurgeons in staff, are far worse.

Volha Bandarenka saw her husband in hospital two times: on a hospital trolley in a corridor and in a ward through the half-opened door. Three plainclothes law enforcement officers guard the ward of Zmitser Bandarenka. It is forbidden to pass food to him. Volha was allowed to pass only water and personal care items.

Zmitser Bandarenka arrived at the 5th hospital in the morning on July 25, but he was suddenly returned to the detention facility because his friends gathered outside the hospital building. Bandarenka was taken to hospital again in the evening on June 25.

Bandarenka, the coordinator of European Belarus civil campaign, was an election agent of 2010 presidential president Andrei Sannikov. Like many other opposition activists, he was detained after a protest demonstration on December 19, 2010, and thrown into the KGB jail, where his chronic diseases aggravated. In April, the court found Bandarenka guilty in “organizing mass actions that breach public order and taking active part in these actions” and sentenced him to two years in a minimum security penal colony.

A neurologist examined him in May and said Bandarenka needed an urgent surgery – he has four herniated spinal discs and three trapped spinal nerves.

The state of health of the political prisoner deteriorated in June, he was taken to the medical unit and then to the republican prison hospital. Bandarenka was given a choice: either he goes to a penal colony or undergoes an operation. He had to give his written consent to the operation. He was denied a consultation with a neurosurgeon.

The Embassy of Poland, the country holding the EU presidency, released a statement to support Bandarenka. The statement demands the Belarusian authorities to ensure proper treatment, counsel, and rehabilitation to the convicted politician. President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek urged official Minsk to release Bandarenka and other political prisoners immediately.

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