23 January 2018, Tuesday, 17:20

Mikalaj Autukhovich turns 51

The political prisoner celebrates birthday in prison.

Mikalaj Autukhovich is an Afghanistan war veteran, a successful entrepreneur and democratic activist.

He was born on 7 January 1963 in Vaukavysk. Starting from 1981 he was on military service in Russia’s Saratov region as a driver in missile strategic army. Later he graduated from a warrant officer and asked to go serve in Afghanistan. For securing a bridge near Kandahar and participating in other operations he was awarded a Red Star order, two medals “For Courage” and “Four Services in Battle”. He quit the army in 1991 as a senior warrant officer and started a business.

For the time Mikalaj Autukhovich was arrested in October 2005 after having started actively fighting for his business (the entrepreneur had a taxi firm) and taking long hunger strikes of protest. The entrepreneur was accused of tax evasion and sentenced to three and a half years in prison. He was one of the six political prisoners, released as a result of tough USA and EU sanctions.

For the second time Mikalaj Autukhovich was arrested on 8 February 2009, convicted by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus on 6 May 2010 according to the part 3 of the article 295 of the Criminal Code (unlawful actions with firearms, ammunition and explosives) and, despite the case fell apart in court due to the lack of evidence, he was sentenced to 5 years and two months in high security prison.

By court decision as of 17 January 2012 prison conditions for him were toughened, he was transferred from the penal colony number 5 in Ivacevichy to the prison number 1 in Hrodna.

Autukhovich does not admit guilt and has claimed that he is persecuted for anti-corruption activities. He attempted suicide because of pressure and provocations on the part of prison administrations.