16 January 2021, Saturday, 9:20
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Autukhovich can start hunger strike in prison again


Belarusian political prisoners were visited by their family members and handed in Charter’97 award to them.

The main news in the case of Mikalai Autukhovich and Uladzimir Asipenka was the fact that they finished to get acquainted with the criminal case in which they are charged with preparation of a terrorist attack. Lawyers Paval Sapelka and Tatsyana Sidarenka find the guild of their clients unproved and plan to appeal to investigators to suspend the case.

Mikalai Autukhovich, who was on three months hunger strike this year, as said by lawyer Paval Sapelka, needs services of a dentist- denturist. However the administration of Minsk remand prison does not pay attention to that.

“Autukhovich carries part of his teeth in his pocket. And he is denied medical help with a reference to the fact that it is not a serious necessity for taking him out to a civil hospital. As a result, if previously Autukhovich announced a hunger strike because of some violations of rules of procedure, soon he can start a hunger strike simply because he won’t be able to eat,” Paval Sapelka said to Radio Svaboda.

On December 2 in the remand prison Uladzimir Asipenka was visited by relatives. Asipenka’s daughter brought the diploma about the National Human Rights Award given to him by Charter’97 initiative. As said by Liudmila Asipenka, her father was very pleased by the attention of the society:

“He expressed great gratitude to everybody: to you, to journalists for support. It is very pleasant for him to receive letters, to feel support. It has put a new heart into him helping to hold on and expect the better.”

“Father told that the criminal case against him consists only of suppositions of witnesses, and there is no real proves in that,” Liudmila Asipenka said.

The award of Charter’97 for courage in defence of human rights was also given to the political prisoner serving sentence in Mahilyou colony Artsyom Dubski. The award was given on December 23 to his mother, Alena Dubskaya.

We remind that the activist of “Young Front” Artsyom Dubski, businessmen Mikalai Autukhovich and Uladzimir Asipenka are still incarcerated in Belarusian prisons.

Artsyom Dubski, “Young Front” activist, on July 7, 2009 was sentenced to a year of imprisonment in a colony for violation of rules of serving the sentence under the well-known Case of Fourteen. Amnesty International recognized the participants of the Process of 14 Prisoners of Conscience in 2009.

Businessmen from Vaukavysk Mikalai Autukhovich, Yury Lyavonau, and Uladzimir Asipenka were detained on February 8, 2009. On February 18, the entrepreneurs were charged under article 218 of the Criminal Code (intentional damage to or destruction of property of citizens). On June 23, a criminal case under article 359 of the Criminal Code (a terroristic act) in the form of preparation (article 13) was instigated against Autukhovich and “other persons”.

Lyavonau was released from Minsk remand prison on August 8. On September 24, he was cleared from all charges. Autukhovich and Asipenka are still in detention facility #1 in Minsk.

Human rights activists consider them political prisoners, turning attention to the fact that Autukhovich and Lyavonau were convicted before and recognized prisoners of conscience by the international community.