Picks of the week
On January 21, blogger Dzmitry Kazlou was released after serving 25 days out of 105 imposed on him on “illegal protesting” charges. He is expected to complete serving the sentence after the prison authorities have finished “disinfection works.” Kazlou was awarded 8 consecutive 15-day terms for attending a series of pro-independence protests held in Minsk in December.
On January 24, the critical blogger learned about yet another trial he is expected to stand on the same charges.
The Belarusian human rights community issued a statement to condemn the ongoing administrative prosecution of Dzmitry Kazlou. The human rights activists warn that they may name Kazlou a political prisoner in case the authorities continue to sentence him to repeated short terms in prison.
Filip Shaurou, a member of the Young Front opposition group, has faced formal charges under Art. 339, Part 1 of the Criminal Code for vandalizing a monument to the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin in Minsk. The activist reportedly painted the statue’s hands red on January 19. The following day, Shaurou turned himself in and confessed to the offense.
He was taken into pre-trial detention for a period of 2 months. In case found guilty, the opposition activist may be sentenced to 3 years in prison.
Stanislau Kostseu has been forced to wear marked death row clothes, while his sentence has not yet become final, the prisoner’s lawyer said.
The uniform has the abbreviation «ИМН» on its back ("исключительная мера наказания", an exceptional measure of punishment). Under an unwritten rule, death row inmates have to wear marked clothes immediately after the trial.
“Stanislau tears off the uniform, but they force him to put it on again. He’s really stressed out because of that,” his sister Hanna said.
In addition, the prison authorities do not allow the 19-year-old convict to see a priest.
Stanislau Kostseu and his brother Illia were sentenced to death on January 10 for murdering their former school teacher.
Their sister says she was forced to leave their home town of Čerykaŭ after repeated threats and insults.