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Poisoning with bleach: Torture or ‘violation of sanitary norms”?

2015 2015-08-20T11:55:17+0300 2015-08-20T11:55:17+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Piatro Kuchura. Photo by

Piatro Kuchura. Photo by

The Investigative Committee of Belarus has quashed a decision not to institute criminal proceedings against employees of the Mahilioŭ-based penal colony No. 15, who tortured prisoner Piotr Kuchura with bleach during his confinement in the punishment cell. However, when notifying the convict, a representative of the Investigative Committee writes about a ‘violation of sanitary norms’.

According to the prisoner’s wife, Liudmila Kuchura, she has received a copy of the decision rewritten by her husband. For some time now, all the answers to the complaints have been ‘announced’ to him, with no copies being issued, perhaps to prevent further appeals. But, as noted by his wife, given many years of her opposition to the government, she did not expect any response at all.

Siarhei Pasko, head of the Investigative Committee’s department of procedural control, wrote in his reply that “an investigation into the materials of the probe showed that it was incomplete, without performing all the investigation activities aimed at a comprehensive, complete and objective investigation.”

However, Mrs. Kuchura, who has submitted dozens appeals against decisions of the investigator, does not believe there could be some positive results: “We will wait for investigator Skavarodkin to write his reply. Because we have it this way in the country: the person against whom we complain gives us the answer. I think that now we’ll get another refusal.”

According to human rights activists of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", Mrs. Kuchura’s disbelief is not unfounded.

“The investigation into the materials of the probe showed that on 11/8/2013 the Investigative Committee received from your wife, L.M. Kuchura, a report on ‘violations of sanitary norms by placing you in the punishment cell of penal colony No. 15” committed, in her opinion, by the administration of the penal facility, as well as on the regularity of the issuance of medicines. This report did not contain any information about the crimes committed, in connection with which it was forwarded to the Mahilioŭ regional office of the Department of Corrections of the Ministry of the Interior. As a result of the report, an audit has been conducted,” says Mr. Pasko.

This legend has been already mentioned by the Investigative Committee. In an earlier response from the Mahilioŭ regional office of the Investigative Committee the idea of inhuman and degrading treatment (which, in fact, Liudmila Kuchura described in her complaint) was substituted by ‘a violation of sanitary norms’ and (despite the fact that she required an investigation of these outrageous facts and further action in relation to administration and personnel of the colony, whose actions had evidence of a criminal offense) said that she did not report on any criminal acts.

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