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Mikalai Dziadok. Bitter taste of colony in Horki


Mikalai Dziadok has been held in the correctional colony in Horki for two months already.

He was transferred there on May 12, after being sentenced to one year of imprisonment under Article 411 of the Criminal Code, Viasna reports.

During this time the political prisoner has been placed in the penal cell five times and spent there 42 days. The reason for placing him there was that he allegedly violated the prison regime and refused from the work that didn't suit him.

On June 30 the prisoner was transferred to a cell-type facility for six months, as a malignant violator of the prison regime.

Moreover, his meetings with his lawyers are severely restricted by the authorities of the colony and last only 15-20 minutes. Once the lawyer wasn't allowed to meet with his client at all despite observing all the necessary procedures.

Mikalai Dziadok's relatives and human rights defenders regard this as an ceaseless pressurization of the political prisoner with the aim to break his will.

Chronology of Persecution

May 12, Mikalai Dziadok was transferred to penal colony №9 in Horki from prison No. 4 in Mahilioŭ. At 9 p.m. he fell asleep out of fatigue an hour earlier than allowed by the prison rules, which was registered as a violation of the prison rules.

May 13, he was punished with an extra-schedule duty – washing toilets. Mikalai Dziadok refused to do it, as under prison “notions” such work can be performed only by prisoners with a low social status. As a result, he was put in the penal cell for five days.

May 17, he was released from the penal cell not at 7 p.m., as required by the norms of the arrest, but at 9 p.m., one hour before the bedtime. At 10.05 p.m. Mikalai Dziadok was still awake, because he had no time to wash himself, clean his teeth and organize his bedplace after the release. At that time, the cell was entered by representatives of the colony administration, who registered another violation of the prison regime.

May 18, the head of the colony A. Lapatka ignored the explanations of the political prisoner and sentenced him to 7 days in penal cell. Mikalai Dziadok was put in a very cold cell: the temperature on those days was 6-9 C, the heating was already off, and the prisoner had only light clothes. He asked to be transferred to another cell during the whole day, but his requests were ignored.

May 19, protesting against the self-will of the colony administration, Mikalai Dziadok cut his arms and belly. After being given medical aid, he was returned to the cold cell and was kept there until the end of the seven-day term.

May 26, he was given three more days in the penal cell, for injuring himself.

June 2, Mikalai Dziadok was charged with making wooden pallets five days a week, 7 days a day, and 3 hours on Saturday, with the monthly wage of 5,000 rubles (less than 1 US dollar). He refused to do it and wrote an application to the head of the colony, asking to be given a job corresponding to his qualification and paid according to the legislation. The same day he was sentenced to 7 days in penal cell for refusal to work.

June 9 he refused to do the work again, and was placed in penal cell for ten days. After serving ten days in the penal cell he again refused to do the work and was sentenced to ten more days in penal cell.

June 10 and 25 Mr. Dziadok was visited by his lawyer. The meeting lasted 20 and 15 minutes correspondingly.

June 30, Mikalai Dziadok was transferred to the cell-type facility for six months. The size of the cell is about 5 square meters. Soon another prisoner was put in the cell.

July 2, the lawyer wasn't allowed to visit Mikalai. The prison administration stated that the latter hadn't written the application for the meeting.

The lawyer of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Pavel Sapelka believes that the change of the prison regime can result in sentencing the prisoner to another prison term:

"The fact that Mikalai Dziadok is held in the cell-type facility is very unpleasant in itself. CTF is jail inside a jail, having the strictest regime: the prisoners are constantly kept in cells, with the exception of occasional walks.

Worst of all, the political prisoner can be held criminally liable under Art. 411 of the Criminal Code again, and his prison term can be extended, as it happened in February this year. The practice of using this article to prisoners has repeatedly been heavily criticized by human rights activists as being contrary to the principles of law – one cannot be punished twice for the same offense. In addition, the use of Article 411 of the Criminal Code violates the international agreements signed by Belarus, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which also states that "no one should be convicted or punished a second time for an offense for which he has already been finally convicted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country "(p. 7, Art. 14 of the Covenant)."

The wife of the political prisoner, Valeryia Khotsina, received only seven letters from her husband during the two months:

"In general, there is little information in them, as he wrote them during several hours after his release from the penal cell before being placed there again. I started getting more letters from him after his transfer to the cell-type facility, but at present he continues answering the letters I sent him back in May. Earlier, the main source of information was the lawyer, but it all got more complicated after the colony administration started hindering the meetings.

I am not surprised by the actions and attitude of the prison administration, we were ready for them even before his transfer. I think that it is not easy for Mikalai, especially in the conditions of maximal blockade in the penal cell, when he is deprived of any occupations other than sitting, walking and thinking. Of course, he won't write it in his letters, as well as the lawyer will not tell such things. Sometimes I feel calmer trying not to think about what is going on there, because I cannot influence the situation anyway. The only thing left is to hope on the physical and psychological strength of my husband."

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