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Prison doctor to stand trial over fatal neglect

2016 2016-07-15T15:25:57+0300 2016-07-15T15:26:28+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Ihar Ptsichkin's portrait, Radio Svaboda

Ihar Ptsichkin's portrait, Radio Svaboda

The Prosecutor General's Office has completed the investigation into the death of Ihar Ptsichkin in jail No. 1 of Minsk in August 2014. According to latest information, the criminal case against paramedic Aliaksandr Krylou will soon reach the court.

In May 2016, following a complaint by the victim’s mother, Zhanna Ptsichkina, the Prosecutor General's Office ordered that the Investigative Committee reopened the criminal case.

Ms. Ptsichkina says she does not believe that her son’s death was accidental. Ihar Ptsichkin died of heart failure, as a result of what human rights defenders say was neglect by the prison doctor. The tragic accident has been investigated for three years, but those responsible for the prisoner’s death have not been punished.

Proper investigating the allegations of ill-treatment of prisoners is extremely significant, says Pavel Sapelka, lawyer of the Human Rights Center "Viasna", in his comment on the decision by the General Prosecutor's Office.

“This is a very important decision by the General Prosecutor’s Office, which shows that the ill-treatment of prisoners can be given proper evaluation. Unfortunately, the legislation does not provide for direct responsibility for ill-treatment, however, the behavior of the prison personnel did not go unpunished. Improper performance of professional duties by a medical officer, which resulted in the death of a patient (Part 2, Article 162 of the Criminal Code) is punished by restriction of freedom for up to five years, or imprisonment for the same period with a fine and disqualification to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities.

I will refrain from any assessments of the quality of the investigation until the court announces its verdict, but so far the Investigative Committee has not found any elements of a crime in the actions of the prison staff.

It was only the publicity that the case gained and support from human rights defenders that led to a proper investigation.”

Ihar Ptsichkin died on August 4, 2013, a few days after he was sentenced to three months in jail for driving his car without a valid driver’s license. The prison administration said that the young man died of heart disease, but the family found bruises on the body. As a result, a criminal case was opened, which was suspended several times, but eventually reached the court.

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