Aleh Volchak “Russian citizens went on hunger-strike in detention center”

2012 2012-02-01T17:32:08+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The human rights activist reports about lots of illegal migrants in the detention center in Akrestsin Street and two Russians, who went on hunger strike.

Aleh Volchak was released today after four days in custody. He said the confinement conditions can be compared with torture.

“The hardest thing was cold. It was below 16°C in the cell. The tap was leaking and it was a problem to sleep there. Cold and this sound of leaking water…” the human rights defender said.

Accoriding to the head of the center “Legal Assistance to Citizens”, police carry out an operation to catch illegal migrants. Investigation of cases of some detainees requires a long time. The Russian citizens, who went on hunger strike, has been in the detention center for 40 days.

Aleh Vouchak said he had enlightened his cell-mates on political themes before trial. “I was surprised to discover the degree of political awareness in our society. When I told my homeless cell-mates I was a political prisoner, they asked at once if I was a member of the United Civil Party or a social democrat. People, regardless of their status, do not like the authorities.”

The human rights activist said cells in the detention center must be repaired. “There are dirty walls in cells. These are insanitary conditions. Broken windows, draughts… Why cannot they install IGUs? We plan to host the Ice Hockey World Championship. Drunken fans can be taken in custody. Everything can happen. They will see in what conditions people are kept there. They treat people like animals. Sleeping on the floor with a mattress is barbarity. All inmates have the same aim – to survive and be released. We need to do something,” he said in an interview to “Narodnaya Volia” newspaper.

Aleh Volchak says his arrest was caused by “politization of human rights activists”. “It seems to me human rights activists have become too politicized. This attracted attention of the law enforcement bodies,” Aleh Volchak said.

On 31 January the Tsentralny district court of Minsk sentenced Aleh Volchak to 4 days in custody. He was found guilty of disorderly conduct.

Aleh Volchak was detained on the street on 27 January and taken to the Tsentralny district police department, where a police report for alleged swearing in public was drawn up.

Before the incident, the human rights activist went to a post office to send “Narodnaya Volia” newspaper to human rights defender Ivan Kruk from Astravets.

Aleh Volchak, a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war, worked as an investigator of special cases at a prosecutor’s office. In the late 1990ies, he headed the Center of Legal Assistance to Citizens, which was closed down due to active defense of victims in Niamiha tragedy in 1999.

During the 2006 presidential elections, Volchak was an agent for candidate Aliaksandr Kazulin, who was later sentenced to five years in prison. He also actively helped imprisoned businessman Mikalai Autukhovich. He is an active participant of numerous campaigns to release political prisoners, including those who faced crackdown after the 2010 post-election protests.