UN Human Rights Committee registers complaint by Valiantsin Stefanovich
The UN Human Rights Committee has registered a complaint submitted by deputy chairman of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Valiantsin Stefanovich. The complaint deals with extremely poor detention conditions the human rights defender was subjected to during his arrest back in 2010.
Valiantsin Stefanovich was detained together with Viasna leader Ales Bialiatski and activist Iryna Toustsik at a protest against the death penalty on March 23, 2010. They were later taken to a detention center in Akrestsin Street, which belongs to the city department of internal affairs. According to Mr. Stefanovich, he was placed in extremely poor conditions that do not meet the minimum sanitary standards, which can be considered as torture.
In May 2010, Minsk Maskouski District Court dismissed Valiantsin Stefanovich’s complaint against the poor detention conditions. Later, Minsk City Court upheld the decision.
In his complaint registered under No. 2882/2012, the human rights defender argues that by subjecting him to poor prison conditions the Belarusian authorities violated Art. 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Art. 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as they require that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The detention center situated in Akrestsin Street, known as the Delinquents’ Isolation Center, is used for detaining individuals who either have committed an offence or are awaiting trial. It holds offenders, drunkards, mentally sick persons, homeless people, as well as the individuals who await deportation as ordered by a court ruling. The prison’s detention conditions are below the minimum admissible standards. The authorities have for a long time used the prison for detaining pro-democratic activists sentenced to short arrests on trumped-up charges. Thus, the prison’s inmates are subjected to conditions that can be called torture.